Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Club, Lone Star List, and Other Good Reads

AKA: "A post in which I talk about books incessently."

I am an avid reader and book lover.  Lately, I have been binge reading.  My reading ebbs and flows and I love when I get hooked on books.  They are like dessert to me.  Since I have been on this reading binge, I wanted to post about all of the delicious books that have consumed me over the past few months.  I read a lot of young adult literature and working in a middle school, I have a virtually unending supply of books at my fingertips.  I am also a friend of the library, and my favorite librarian and I have the same taste in books, so she is always recommending books to me that I love!  It usually only takes me two or three days to devour a book, so this may not be a comprehensive list, but this post will include all the ones that stand out in my memory.

But first a bit about my new love; my book club:
I have wanted to be a part of a book club for most of my adult life and a couple of months ago, I finally started one.  It's as simple as book clubs get.  We meet once a month at Barnes and Noble, and over coffee, we dish about the current book and then choose next month's book.  And since we meet at the bookstore, we can go ahead and pick up our newly selected book.  I have a special relationship with my books.  I typically read library books, but there is something so special to me about owning my own books that have become a part of me.  We have our second meeting today.  I love my book club and the ladies who are a part of it.  It's definitely a highlight of my month.

So without further adue, here are my latest reads, in no particular order...

The Gallagher Girl Books by Ally Carter

These were recommended to me by my librarian friend, Dawn.  This is a series of books that started a few years ago.  There will be six, when all is said and done.  And there is a possibility that they will be made into a movie one of these days.  In this teen chick lit series, the main character, Cammie, goes to the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, which is a code name for an elite school... for spies.  The first book begins at the start of Cammie's sophomore year in high school and the first semester of the much anticipated Covert Operations class.  These books are adorable.  Cammie and her three best friends, Bex, Liz, and Macey have wild adventures, try to understand boys, jet out on their own secret missions, and try to solve mysteries, like what really happened to Cammie's father?  Is there really an all boys school for spies? Why were Cammie and Macey nearly kidnapped and who is really after whom?  And why are boys such a mystery?  All the while growing as friends, young women, and spies!  I love the storytelling in these books.  Cammie's voice is heartwarming, charming, clever and funny.  The next book in the series comes out in January.  It is definitely on my extended to read list.

Heist Society also by Ally Carter

I actually discovered The Gallagher Girl books after reading Heist Society.  Heist Society is on the 2011 Lone Star List.  The Lone Star List is a collection of books for middle school students chosen by librarians from around the state of Texas.  These are the best of the best for the year.  Most of my summer reading comes from the upcoming Lone Star List.  This year I have gotten a head start.  And I have not read one yet, that I haven't enjoyed.  The main character in Heist Society is a girl by the name of Katarina Bishop.  Kat comes from a long line of high society thieves.  In Heist Society, Kat's father is accused of stealing a set of paintings from a very rich, very dangerous mobster.  Kat believes her father when he says he is innocent of the crime.  How could he be stealing from this man, when he was doing a job in France that same night?  Kat and her friends set out to steal the paintings back, clear her father's name and set things right.  Another teen girl adventure novel that had me hooked from the first page to the last.  There is also a sequel to this one, Heist Society 2: Uncommon Criminals coming out in June.  It's definitely on my to read list for the summer.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Also from the Lone Star List, Forgive My Fins is a cute teen love story with a twist.  Lily Sanderson is also a mermaid princess.  Half human, half mermaid to be exact.  I wasn't sure about this one at first, it sounded a little too "Little Mermaid" for me, but when Dawn handed it to me and I gave her the "Are you kidding me?" look, she cried, "They are just like the rest of us, Sheila!  Just... underwater."  I knew I had to give it a chance.  I am glad I did.  In Forgive My Fins, the mermaid/human relationship is much more complex and so is Lily's life.  She is tormented by her biker boy next door neighbor, and has a crush on the star of the swim team.  And mermaids are not the casual dating type.  When they "bond," it's for life.  Lily soon finds herself with a tsunami sized delimma and a very short window of opportunity to figure it all out.  This novel is written with cute sea-lingo with phases such as "son of a swordfish" and "he bugs the carp out of me."  Like the others, there will be a sequel, Fins are Forever.  It's also coming out in June, and it's also on my summer list.

Matched by Ally Condie

This has been my favorite Lone Star book so far.  It has the same flavor of The Giver or The Hunger Games.  I am a sucker for books about future societies.  They always make me wonder just what our world could be coming to.  Matched is the tale of a future society in which the people are given their meals, their careers, even their spouses without any choice.  They are told when to be home at night, when to have children, and even when they will die.  The Society has prearranged every decision following the best in probabilty and statistics in an effort to give the citizens "the optimal life."  Cassia is happy and content in her nearly perfect life and her Match Banquet couldn't have gone better, since she was matched with her lifetime best friend, Xander.  But then she gets a glimpse of something The Society never meant for her to see, another boy, Ky, as her match.  Doubt in the system begins to creep in and Cassia is left wondering if the Society's way is really the best way.  Maybe having a choice would be better.  The sequel, Crossed, will be out in November.  Sounds like a great birthday present to me!

There are so many more books I still want to write about.  This post is To Be Continued...

Easter Eggstravaganza

It's been a hectic few weeks and my blog has been feeling a bit neglected.  As you know, last Sunday was Easter Sunday.  As far as holidays go, I think I love Easter even more than Christmas.  We celebrated in fine style.  The weekend before, a few of our neighbors got together and threw an Easter carnival for all the kids in the neighborhood.  We all had a blast.  Then, I spent my day off from school on Good Friday with my bestie, Rebecca.  Mani, pedi, and a little shopping is an excellent way to spend any day off.  Saturday was egg coloring day at the Layman house and ended with a lovely Easter Service at our church.  I just love our church.  Sunday morning the kids woke up to baskets filled with lots of goodies from the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt that lasted all of 30 seconds to find 48 eggs!  We had a nice, relaxing day at home and my family came over for our first BBQ dinner of the season.  Here are a few pictures to highlight our Easter celebration.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All These People

If you were on my doorstep tonight as we were all coming home, you would have overheard this...

Me: All these people...
Robert: What people?
Me: (pointing to the children) These people.  We made all these people.
Charlotte: No.  Jesus did.
Me: I think we did a good job.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whisper Sunday

In case you haven't heard, my hubby Robert, has been transferred back to the night shift.  He is a deputy with a local sheriff's office.  When you work for the sheriff's office, like most other jobs I suppose, they can pretty much put you where they need you.  So Robert is back on the night shift.

He used to work nights when he first started in the jail, 7 years ago.  And then again, when he first went out to patrol, 5 years ago.  I've gotten used to the almost-like-a-regular-job day shift he's had for the last few years.  But nothing lasts forever, I suppose.

The children are certainly not used to this new schedule either.  And I have never had to manage a sleeping husband and four children all in one house before.  It's not really a job he can go to and do well on very little sleep.  I want more than anything for him to be bringing his A game to a job where not only do you work at night, but you also carry a gun and wear body armour!  So today, I had a great idea.  Whisper Sunday.

It's just as simple as it sounds.  Nobody speaks louder than a whisper.  All day.  And to make it more appealing to the children, the one who is the quietest all day gets to choose our movie for Sunday Night Movie Time tonight.  This idea was brilliant, if I do say so myself.  I am enjoying sitting on my couch, listening to the sounds of my fingers clicking away on the keyboard, the dishwasher washing dishes in the background, and... well, not much else.  I think I will take this quiet time to read a few chapters in my book and maybe doze on the couch for a little while.

I hope your Sunday is as peaceful as ours, friends.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Theodore follows me down the hall, pointing a nerf gun up at me, and says in the fiercest voice a three year old can muster, "Time to die." I turn, look at him, channel my inner Grey's Anatomy, and reply in the most somber voice I can muster, "Nobody dies today."