Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Reads of 2009

Don't forget to vote books for me to read in 2010!

Here is a list of my favorite books (plus links if I reviewed them) that I read in 2009. In no particular order...

1. The Twilight Saga (sadly no I did not review any of them, but I loved them... quirks, bad writing and all.. )

2. American Wife – Curtis Sittenfield (sadly I was a bad blogger at the beginning of '09 and did not review this either.. but it was excellent... )

5. The Mating Rituals of a North American WASP - Lauren Lipton (Hilarious and fast read..)

13. Georgia Nicholson's Series by Louise Rennison

What was your favorite book of 2009?

Thanks for being such great readers as I figure out how I want to best share my reading / writing with you all. 2009 has definitely helped me grow in my reading selections and reviewing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

on the bright side, i'm now the girlfriend of a sex god confessions of Georgia Nicolson

From the back cover: Georgia Nicholson is dating the Sex God so life should be perfect... except in Georgia's life, nothing is ever perfect. Her cat, Angus, is terrorizing the neighborhood. Her sister, Libby (who is slightly mad), hides her pooey knickers at the bottom of Georgia's bed. Then the Sex God breaks it off because she's too young. It's time for Georgia to become a heartless boy magnet.

The second installment of Georgia’s antics begins right after we just left her. She is gearing up for THE WORST TRIP ever to the other side of the earth, when joyous news is received and Vati (her name for her dad) is coming home! No need to travel away from her Sex God of a boyfriend.

However, this good news is ruined when SG decides that Georgia is too young for him and they can’t see each other. Georgia is heartbroken, but with the help of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, she realizes that men are like elastic bands and she has a “grand plan.”

Georgia also is a tad bit kinder to P. Green, but her ridiculous childish behavior continues and she is a terrible friend to Jas. So very selfish, but aren’t we all at 14. Full of dramatics and Georgia's ridiculous ability to get herself wrapped up in the most bizarre situations or stories. A great quick read and for sure a great laugh!

Don't forget to vote for the January Group Read (poll on the side)!!!

Also, don't forget to vote for what books I should read in 2010 and (potentially) win yourself a prize!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

I have to thank Reading is Sexy for her review of the hilarious antics of Georgia, which inspired me to check out Louise Rennison at my local library. It took me a week to get through this, but honestly should have taken me just a few hours, I blame Christmas. :)

This book has a ton of Brit humor, which I love and is written in journal format with the narrator being a fourteen-year-old girl. It's funny because it totally takes you back to 14 and the RIDICULOUSNESS that is 14 and female. All the outrageous antics you do to make yourself look good and to impress boys. All the fickle things you say and do to your "best-friends." This book does not disappoint.

Georgia is in love with a sex-goddess (Robbie) who she hopes to be her boyfriend. There are a lot of misadventures on her quest to achieve this and a lot of them are her own fault. She has a cat named Angus who is quite the terror, a sister who is hilarious, and parents she could do without. (Remember she is 14.)

However, this was hilarious and I loved how it was written in journal form and that she wrote constantly. I also liked how it was believable for 14. None of the crap of being "soo grown up" and what not. Realistic childish ridiculous fun. Oh and some snogging and running through the streets with her nuddypants on. :)

Check it out if you want a laugh and some good YA fiction. There are also more stories in the Georgia series and unfortunately unless I pull off a Christmas miracle and finish the other 2 that I have checked out TODAY, I will have to wait awhile to get back to them as they are being held at the library and I cannot renew them.
Don't forget to vote for the January Group Read (poll on the side..)
Also, don't forget to pick out books for me to read in 2010 and enter to win a prize!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

You Pick 2010...

*Note the poll is up for January's Group Read!! ** voting goes until 1/1/10 and I will announce the winner that day..

Taking a page from Stacy's Books , albiet a much SMALLER page, I am going to have my lovely readers pick 10 of my 2010 reads. The last two years I have made a push to read the books on my shelf. While, I have done a pretty darn good job, I also have obtained more and bought more and then not read some. Last week, I went through my house room by room, book shelf by book shelf and collected books that I need to read. Now this isn't even the complete list because I have more young teen / young adult books that I have collected over the years that are not on my list to read but I have collected them from people who know I am a teacher. I unfortunately took the picture before I added in my Christmas stash of books but I took a photo of those and after I took that I did add it into my large pile, which is still NOTHING compared to her large stash of books. I am amazed by hers, which you can view here.

Here is how this will work. You will pick 1-5 titles from the stack that you think I should read in 2010. Leave comments about why you think I should read that particular book or you can just leave a list. I will leave the voting open until January 3rd. On January 4th, I will post the 10 books that my readers have chosen for me to read during 2010. If there is a tie, I will pick the one I will read out of it.

Now, you may ask, why should you help me pick a book out? Because, after everyone has added in their 2 cents and I am tallying the votes, I will use to pick a winner and that winner will recieve Bananagrams Gram - Bunches of fun! If by chance the winner already owns this game, I am willing to send a gift certificate to uncommongoods as it is one of my favorite places to shop and browse!

Now help me out !!! :)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.. I hate wrapping because I stink at it. Yesterday when I was wrapping approximately 95 percent of the presents I bought, I got tired of wrapping and totally started gift bagging it up.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial love…

3. When do you put up the tree? Over Thanksgiving weekend in general, this year I reluctantly put it up the first weekend of December..

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually the 2nd weekend in January.. I’m too lazy on New Years and too busy watching football to get to it until then..

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes I do! I hope I get some this year.. My grandma used to always have it..

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Eh… I never got anything exciting for Christmas.. my brother did.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The hubby!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom…

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail…

11. Worst Christmas ever? Probably the year my great-grandma died on Christmas Day or the one we are about to have in 2 days.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie(s)? Elf. Cheesy ABC family and Hallmark movies

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I usually start the day after Thanksgiving, though I had purchased one gift before that this year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yup. Some people should really think about the size and likes of a teenage girl before giving them things, is all I’ll say. :P

15 .Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Carmels, peppermint stick ice cream, sugar cookies, puppy chow… spinach dip

16. Lights on the tree? The white ones that came pre-lit with my tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Hark the Herald Angel Sing, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Come All Ye Faithful

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Basically stay at home, but our families live a very short car ride away so we spend Christmas Eve and Day shuttling between the two..

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Funny, I sent this as homework home with my kids this week because I could NOT remember… (Donner, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Blitzen and Rudoloph)

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Eve with the in-laws and this year also with my parents.. morning with each other and afternoon with my mom’s fam.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? All the dang meals people apparently want to feed you, even when you are full and the insane scheduling of visits..

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like colorful balls, snowmen and special ornaments with meaning..

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We always did ham and all the random sides but this year we are trying something different… we are doing lasagna, homemade garlic bread, salads and some pasta..

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? My grandma to be here..

I hope everyone has a great time celebrating with family!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Discussion Questions for The Awakening..

Well, with the lack of comments on my review, I am hoping that some at least read a little about it so we can have a discussion. I sense that it wasn't a fan favorite! :)

1. What is important about the title?

2. How does Chopin reveal character in The Awakening?

3. Is Edna consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How? Why?

4. Would you recommend this novel? Why or why not?

My answers will be in the comments!!! Add any other questions you want to add...

Remember to vote for the January Group Read!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Gossip Girl

Publisher's Weekly ---At a New York City jet-set private school populated by hard-drinking, bulimic, love-starved poor little rich kids, a clique of horrible people behave badly to one another. An omniscient narrator sees inside the shallow hearts of popular Blair Waldorf, her stoned hottie of a boyfriend, Nate, and her former best friend Serena van der Woodsen, just expelled from boarding school and "gifted with the kind of coolness that you can't acquire by buying the right handbag or the right pair of jeans. She was the girl every boy wants and every girl wants to be." Everyone wears a lot of designer clothes and drinks a lot of expensive booze. Serena flirts with Nate and can't understand why Blair is upset with her; Blair throws a big party and doesn't invite Serena; Serena meets a cute but unpopular guy; and a few less socially blessed characters wonder about the lives of those who "have everything anyone could possibly wish for and who take it all completely for granted." Intercut with these exploits are excerpts from (the actual site launches in February), where "gossip girl" dishes the dirt on the various characters without ever revealing her own identity amongst them. Though anyone hoping for character depth or emotional truth should look elsewhere, readers who have always wished Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz would write about teenagers are in for a superficial, nasty, guilty pleasure. The book has the effect of gossip itself once you enter it's hard to extract yourself; teens will devour this whole. The open-ended conclusion promises a follow-up. Ages 15-up.

Me --- I have watched a few episodes of the CW's Gossip Girl and was instantly attracted to its ridiculousness. I immediately knew I wanted to read the books and it has taken me awhile to venture into the YA section of the library. The first installment in von Ziegesar's series is just as ricdiculous as the show. I am glad I have the image of the actors in my mind and I think it's nice to have the show in mind while reading. I am not ashamed to admit I love to tread mindless trash, and this is just that. But, I mean how can you resist a bunch of spoiled teenagers acting like 20 somethings? Completely unbelievable but at the same time it drags you into the craziness. It MAKES you want to be as lucky as them.

You know you love me.. xoxo.. :)

Remember to vote for the January Group Read!

Monday, December 21, 2009

January Group Read...

I know this is very early, but I figure with the holidays and what not it would be a good idea to start suggesting books to read in January. That way, we could have a book decided on by January 1st!

I'm kinda thinking about a book that is upbeat or about new beginnings. But like always, anything and everything is welcome to be suggested!

Leave the suggestions in the comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

When I look past the fact that I was not a fan of Chopin's writing style, I will say the message and subject were good.

The Awakening is the story of Edna Pontieller, who is a New Orleans wife in the late 1800s. The book opens in the summer on Grande Isle, a resort for wealthy New Orleans families. Edna doesn't seem to connect with or belong with the others besides Madame Ratignolle, Mademoiselle Resiz and Robert. Robert had the reputation of picking a married lady and "befriending her" over the summer for some harmless flirting. This summer he picked Edna. Edna enjoyed the attention Robert gives her and slowly starts drifting from her husband. There are moments that she openly defies his wishes and then wonders if she always did what he said, and realizes that she has.

Madame Ratignolle is the vision of what the perfect mother and wife of the late 1800s should be. She is everything Edna had been before she was "awakened." Mademoiselle Reisz represents what Edna could become if she left her husband and children.

Her summer of discovery and fun ends when Robert abruptly leaves Grande Isle to go to Mexico for a "business adventure." Edna is heartbroken. The summer finishes and they return to New Orleans. However, back in New Orleans Edna is no longer the Edna that Mr. Pontieller married. This Edna does what she wants and casts away jobs/visiting that she oversaw as Mrs. Pontieller. Her husband worries about her and thinks she is mentally unstable. A doctor friend tries to reassure him that she is not and to just give her space.

Edna has a real push to independence when her husband is called away on business and her mother-in-law takes her two boys. She spends her days wandering, painting, visiting Mademoiselle Reisz, and entertaining Alcee Arobin. She decides she needs to separate herself from her large stately house and downsize into the "pigeon-house." So, yes she basically decides hey I am going to move out of my house and oh I will write my husband that is away on business a letter and it will be all fine and dandy. That is when I started questioning her mental capacity.

Edna is visiting Mademoiselle Reisz one day, when Robert appears. He is back from his "business adventure." He walks her home and they skirt around uncomfortable inappropriate topics until they are interrupted. Edna doesn't see him for many days until she runs into him and they get to talking. All the feelings are out in the open and it seems like all the cards are falling into place and they will be together. Edna is called away and when she returns, Robert is gone.

This sends Edna who is already emotionally fragile into a huge tailspin.

I do have an issue with her relationship with Arobin. If she is in love with Robert like she proclaims, then that was stupid and in no way acting in way to get him. However, if she is just unhappy and latching on to anything (which I think is the case) than fine. But, to go on and on about her love for Robert and then to that and THEN be soo upset when he says "good-bye." Uh no. Crazy. And perhaps this is when I have to remember this was the late 1800s and she was just beginning to assert "independence" and had no idea how to act in independently.

Anyway, I think I will settle on this being okay. Not something I'd re-read or gush about it. What do you all think? Comments? Questions? Start something up in the comments!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have started and stopped and erased the review of The Awakening more than twice. That is just going to have to wait. I have started and stopped an "All I want for Christmas --- books" about five times. I am lacking the focus.

Not only am I lacking the focus for writing the blog, but I am lacking focus everywhere. I have been forgetting about everything, not comprehending simple sentences being said to me, and losing my ever loving patience.

I need Christmas break. I need it soooooooo bad. And sadly, I already am thinking how it is not long enough. We haven't had recess outside in about 2 weeks. The weather has either been too cold or too wet and my kids don't all have the right clothes on any given day and when the majority do not, I am not going to make them stay inside while half go out. At 5 years old, it is not their fault they don't have it.

This post is about all over as my mind keeps flying. I have ideas for posts, but the motivation to start them and implement them erases the moment I click on "New Entry." I really need some focus.

And to make a further random jump of topic... Those of you who are purchasing gifts for a significant other, what are some things you are getting them? I need to get my husband something "fun" or something and this year I haven't found the idea yet and I am clearly running out of time!

And in hopes of jump starting my "focus" what would you like me to blog about?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Second Thoughts on The Awakening

FYI, the following will probably contain some spoilers. It has info based on the first 196 pages (large print edition). Read at your own risk. :) I finished the book after I wrote this but did not include all my thoughts on it.

New Words...

Blagueur – joker

Lorgnette – eyeglasses that are held to the eyes with a long handle

Unbelievable quote ---”Do I have to think of everything? ---- as Leonce says when he’s in a bad humor. I don’t blame him; he’d never be in a bad humor if it weren’t for me.” (pg. 77)

Whaaat??? Holy battered woman syndrome. He only hits me because I deserve it????

I also quite enjoyed when Edna’s husband went to the doctor and was concerned she was mentally unbalanced because she was standing up for herself and doing what she wanted. And that her own father tells her husband to manage his wife by force. Eeesh.

Something I don’t understand about Edna is the fact that she just decides to move into the other house and acts like it is no big deal and her husband will be fine with it and what not. It’s like the most natural thing in the world. I am currently on page 196 and she is hosting a dinner party as her last hooray at the house.

My current thoughts --- Like the book, but still not sold on the writing style. I really don’t like being TOLD what people think, how about you let it show up in the writing, not spell it out. I like the random French thrown in, but I don’t really know what it all means, so if I care I have to mark it and look it up later, so that is annoying.

What do you think of Edna’s plan to take up residence in the new house? What about Alcee Arobin? What do you think of THAT drama? I quite like Mademoiselle Reisz. She is a nice enabler for Edna. Any questions? Comments? Start discussing in the comments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Mitten by Jan Brett

From Jan Brett’s Website…. When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing. One by one, woodland animals find the mitten and crawl in; first a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse, and what happens next makes a wonderfully funny climax. As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on. Once again Jan Brett has created a dramatic and beautiful picture book in her distinctive style. She brings the animals to life with warmth and humor, and her illustrations are full of visual delights and details faithful to the Ukrainian tradition, from which the story comes.

Me….. I absolutely LOVE this book. It has the best pictures, relatively short and entertains both the children and the adults…. I read this with my class a couple weeks ago and we did a lot of different activities with it.

I had planned to do a picture walk first but I ran out of time on Monday, so we jumped right in on Tuesday. After we read the story through, we talked about how many animals went in the mitten, in what order and if that many animals would actually fit in our mittens. Then to start the activity from her site, I had the students color in the animals during centers that day. The next day, we re-read it and talked about the order they went in again. Then I showed them the mitten that we had made copies of on construction paper and how they would cut them out (2) and then we would staple them to make our on mitten. After the mittens were made, we cut out the animals we colored the day before. Then I re-read the story again, and while I read the book, the students put the animals in their own mitten. Super cute.

Thursday I had a short emergent book that the students could read themselves. We ‘read’ it through together and then the students colored in the books. I showed them how they could use their mittens from the day before to read and act this story out at home. Everybody was SUPER excited to show their parents.

Other activities we did during the week included counting / graphing the amount of mittens vs. gloves we had as a class, teaching the word was, and working on AB and ABB patterns by coloring in mittens.

This is one of my favorite winter books. What are some of your favorite winter books?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Awakening first thoughts...

I am currently at Chapter 8 and have already marked a few parts that I wanted to comment on. My initial reactions are, it's okay and I think I am at a point where it is starting to pick up. I am not quite a fan of the style of writing, where the author tells you how/what the character is as opposed to "showing." I don't want to be told the character is engaging or whatever. SHOW it to me.

The first quote that I marked that I wanted to share is this..

"They were women who idolizeed their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themsleves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels." pg. 22

I've never understood this. I can't imagine living life like that. No matter what I am my own person. Obviously, I do not have children but I am married and I am not all about taking care of my husband all the time.

"In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an indvidual to the world within and about her." (pg 33)

Is it bad that my thought was, IT'S ABOUT TIME.. ;)

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding he body in its soft, close embrace." (pg. 34)

This was just a beautiful line. I like how Chopin descibes the sea as seductive. It summed up how I feel near the ocean. It's beauitful, easy to stare at and erase all worries.

A new word...

This word I had to look up because I had no idea.
befurbelowed - Furbelows are are flounces or elaborate trim on a dress or skirt. Befurbelowed means to be dressed up in particulary fancy cloth

Anyone else have any quotes they've marked so far? Who has started reading? What do you think? Any questions? Comments.. Anything at all.. start a discussion in the comments! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Things I Want My Daughters to Know

Elizabeth Noble has once again weaved a wonderful tale using the viewpoints of four sisters, their stepfather and excerpts from their late mother's journal. When I saw this book cover and was intrigued I had no idea that I had already read one of her novels, The Reading Group, before. (Another good read, if you were wondering.)

The book follows the girls and their stepfather in the year following their mothers death to the dreaded 'C' word. One would think that it would be messy and hard to follow the different viewpoints, but they just kept me more into the book and more wanting to find out more. I love how Noble is capable of letting out little nuggets of the story and for the little plot lines to develop in your head.

Barbara, their mother, knew death was coming and prepared by leaving a journal for her daughters to read and by leaving them all letters. Some of the contents were life shattering, and others the good ole advice you'd expect from a mum.

The Narrators

First there is Lisa, the oldest daughter who is the BIGGEST commitment phobe possible. Has the self-destructive behaviors down pat. Luckily for her, she has common sense and a wonderful "bloke." (God I love British slang!)

Jen, is the second oldest who has the vibe of a fridge wench. She is clearly unhappy and through the various nugget droppings you find out why. However, in the beginning it made me want to punch her husband, then her, and then I just wanted to hug her.

Amanda, is the third daughter and the free spirit. She is always off traveling and is not there when their mother passes. This causes her some pain but the chance meeting of Ed helps her adjust and find her real self.

Hannah, is the baby and the only child of Barb and Mark's marriage. The others all came from their mum's first marriage to Donald. Hannah is the typical teenage girl who is thrust into adulthood and loses her innocence all to young. She tests limits, she breaks rules, but deep down she loves her dad and misses her mum terribly.

Mark is the wonderful stepfather who took in Barbara's teenage daughters as if they were his own. He misses his wife terribly and tries to give the advice she would. He recalls all of the tidbits she shared through the years of how to deal with daughters and tries his hardest to be dad/mom/friend to all of them.

I really cannot do this book justice. It is soo good, and I don't want to reveal too much more because this is a book where the more you read, the more you discover and realize how little you knew and how badly you misjudged the information you had already. Or maybe that is just me.

Definitely recommend and if you've lost a mom or a close person, keep the Kleenex handy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy 101

The rules of this award:

List 10 things that make you happy.

Try and do at least one of them today.

Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

Link back to the person that tagged you.

Becky from Love Everyday Life was kind enough to bestow this wonderful award on me.

10 Things that Make me Happy

1. Reading a good book.

2. Sipping on a glass of wine, watching a movie and just relaxing with my husband.

3. Girls night.

4. Watching a child learn, grow and play.

5. Cheesey Lifetime movies.

6. A good hair day.

7. Summer

8. Having my husband make me wonderful food.

9. Spending time with my family.

10. Reading blogs and learning more about other people.

Now, 10 bloggers I would like to pass this award to:

1. Blair from Heir to Blair

3. Lisa from Knitting Yarns

5. Marie from BostonBibliophile

8. Stacy fom Stacysbooks

Thanks for always brightening my day ladies!!! ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009


If you want one of the books that I am giving away, let me know which book you want and leave your email. The first person to tell me which book they want and leaves their email addy will get it. :)


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tis the Season and All...

I am taking a page from stacybuckeye and in the honor of the season I am giving away 5 books to the first 5 people who respond. They are all slightly used and some have writing in them, but everyone loves a good used book, right?

Here are the 5 lucky books looking for a new home. If you want one of the books, just leave a comment and an email that I can get ahold of you at to get your address.

1. The Last Juror - John Grisham - Fairy Footprints

2. Kiss the Girls - James Patterson

3. Ceremony - Leslie Marmon Silko Lisa

4. Babyville - Jane Green - amber tidd murphy

5. Dancing Girls - Margaret Atwood - amanda18228

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December's Group Read is...

The Awakening by Kate Chopin!! I just got this from the library last week and it is next on my list after I finish the tear inducing Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble.

From the Book Jacket: Edna Pontellier is once again spending the summer with her husband and children at Grande Isle, a resort for wealthy New Orleans families. But this summer is very different for Mrs. Pontellier.
The sultry nights, the hypnotic, gentle lapping of the waves on the beach, the intoxicating scent of the breezes off the Gulf -- these all combine to bring strength to Edna's inner self, the person inside who she has too long stifled for her husband, family, and society.
Slowly, through that fateful summer, Edna changes. Her husband doesn't understand why more and more his wife is letting her housemaking duties slip and is increasingly rebellious. Edna herself is unable to fully explain what is happening to her, but she knows that she can no longer be untrue to herself. Description: This story of a woman's struggle with oppressive social structures received much public contempt at its first release; put aside because of initial controversy, the novel gained popularity in the 1960s, some six decades after its first publication, and has since remained a favorite of many readers. Chopin's depiction of a married woman, bound to her family and with no way to assert a fulfilling life of her own, has become a foundation for feminism and a classic account of gender crises in the late Victorian era.

Looks good.. cannot wait to start!!!