Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sarah, Plain and Tall is a cute story about how a little girl, Anna, and her brother, Caleb, meet Sarah, a would be mother to them. Since the death of their mother, shortly after Caleb was born, their Papa has been lonely and raising the two children. He decides to take out an advertisement for a wife and mother. Sarah, a spinster from Maine answers the ad and is soon on her way to the prairie.

This book is a sweet story but I think it is difficult for the young age its written for to understand it. My daughter who is 9 read this with me and was not captivated by the story as much as a girl 30 years ago might have been.

Recommended for a read-a-loud to young kids.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a reread for me. I first read To Kill a Mockingbird, like most people, in high school. I remember not being impressed with it and read it only because it was assigned. I reread it this past year because so many of my students were reading it and I wanted to recall details about the story.

Upon my visitation to Maycomb, Alabama again, I found I really enjoyed the writing and crafting of this book much more than the plot. The story follows Scout, a young girl who witnesses racism on a daily basis. Her father is a prominent lawyer and is defending Tom Robinson who is a black man charged with raping a white woman. Through the story, it is clear Tom Robinson is not guilty but will the people of Maycomb agree?

Recommended to those who had to read this in high school to reread.

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After You by Jojo Moyes

After You (Me Before You, #2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After You is the continuation of the story that began in Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I absolutely fell in love with the the main character, Louisa Clark, in the first book and still enjoyed her in this second installment.

After You follows Lou as she tries to come to terms with Will’s death. Unexpected people show up and she discovers more about the man she loved and lost. I enjoyed this books darker side. Lou is going through a tough time and becomes depressed joining a support group, trying to find herself again. This story holds so much truth about losing someone you love but we do see glimpses of the old Louisa.

I have already started the third book and cannot get enough of this series. The writing is superb!

Recommended to fans of quirky stories or fans of BritLit.

Purchase this book here.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Me Before You. There have only been a handful of times a writer has grasped me the way Jojo Moyes has. Her writing is captivating to say the least. I could not put this book down and immediately started the second in the series, Me After You, and can not wait until I get to read Still Me, next.

Will Traynor was a well-to-do man who never said “no” to an adventure until one day, crossing the street, he was hit by a motorbike and left paralyzed. Louisa Clark is a quirky girl with no direction, content in her mundane life. When Will’s mother hires Louisa to be his companion, both of their lives are changed. Filled with laughter, excitement, heartbreak, and love, this book is an emotional roller coaster that will have the reader crying from joy and pain.

Me Before You, actually made me cry. From happy, hopeful tears to flat out ugly crying with smudged mascara running down my cheeks. I will admit, the plot did not interest me but this has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time because of the way Jojo Moyes is able to grab a reader’s attention and keep it.

Recommended for those who like emotional stories. Good for fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Everything Everything.

Purchase this book here! Now!

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Give Them Wings: Preparing for the Time Your Teen Leaves Home by Carol Kuykendall

Give Them Wings: Preparing for the Time Your Teen Leaves Home

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book after winning a copy from the publisher. It was a contest I entered because I wanted to read this book. I would have bought it had I not won a copy. After reading it, I will buy more copies to pass along to friends and family. The author even included a sweet personal note

Give Them Wings: preparing for the time your teen leaves home, by Carol Kuykendall and Krista Gilbert, is a must read for all parents, especially moms. Carol Kuykendall wrote this after her kids left home for college and has recently updated the title with Krista Gilbert to include the extra things youth today deal with. Carol takes the reader through the teen years and how to prepare your child for the adult world they will face. She gives great inside on making connections and memories before they go but also being intentional about the things they need to know, such as using the Post Office.

Although my daughter is only nine years old, she is already beginning to separate from me and Carol reassured me this is a normal thing and I really feel easier about this new transition coming up. When I talked to my husband about our daughter not wanting/needing me so much anymore, he laughed and was like, “yeah…….” but for me, it was unexpected and devastating. I could not imagine a world where I’m not the center of my daughter’s life and its great knowing I’m not alone. I now feel like I can not take it personally and be a better mom, showing Gods love and grace in this season. Carol also walks the reader though the actual saying goodbye. I feel I can use her wisdom and apply it to my situation and make the most of a difficult time.

The only critique I have and the reason it does not get a full five stars is because I would have like a little more detail and stories about exact challenges and specific things the writer did. She did have one great part written from her son’s point of view and I would have liked to hear more of that voice as well. Other than that, this a wonderful guide. Carol and Krista do not put any pressure on the reader but instead, I felt as though they were holding my hand and facing my fears with me.

I highly recommend to those who have children entering the teen years (so they have time to prepare) but also for those whose teens are leaving the house or need to leave the house.

Purchase the book here at Focus on the Family.

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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read this book because it is a popular YA book at my school but most students weren’t finishing it. Other than being about a school shooting, there was nothing about this book that stands out. The characters are flat and predictable and the writing is below average.

Four students give their voice to tell the story about a day that changed Opportunity High. Ty feels alone after the death of his mother, the absence of his alcoholic father, and his sister following her own path, leaving him behind. He decides to take out his unhappiness on the rest of the students, during an assembly, where they are left trapped and subject to his sickening games.

This book was a quick and easy read and might appeal to reluctant readers but it does contain violence and gruesome death is described in detail. I would be careful of suggesting it to teens because of the subject matter. Parents, if your child reads this, I would read it also so you can have an open discussion about it.

I would not recommend this book.

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Being Judged

Do you feel like your scale judges you? I do! I also think that sometimes, it just displays a number without taking into account my hard work or my feelings. UGH!

Image result for clip art weight scale

Good news = I’m back to pre-birthday weight

Bad news = Not sure what’s making my weight go up and down. Anyone have any tricks out there for finding out what your body reacts to (carbs vs protein, gaining muscle vs losing weight, etc.)

It does appear that actually going down in weight will be very gradual for me. I saw a plotted graph from one WW’er and that seems like a good idea. I’m thinking about using that so I can visually see my downward trend more than just the ups and downs, week to week.