Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hungry anyone?

Bet you thought this post was going to be about food.

It's not.

It's about an awesome book I just read.

Have you heard of this book?
A good friend of mine suggested I read it. 
When I read the description, I was very skeptical. 

The story takes place sometime in the future.  North America has fallen in a great war and a new country, Panem, has emerged.  Panem keeps it's subjects under control by fear and by the annual Hunger Games.  Once a year, each of the 12 districts of Panem must randomly choose a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 and send them to the capital to compete in the Hunger Games.  The 24 children are put into an arena and are forced to fight each other to the death.  The winner receives numerous rewards including food for their district for a year.  Oh and all this is televised live to the nation with mandatory viewing.

Can you see why I was skeptical?  It doesn't really sound like the feel-good book of the year, does it?  So it was with much trepidation that I started reading the book.

It was fan-tast-ic!!  I couldn't put it down!!

It was SO good.  It's listed as a book for 7th graders and up, but I was totally engrossed in it.  The characters and settings are so rich and full.  It's the kind of book that you can see the action going on in your head as you read it.  I can't tell you too much about the story or I'll give away the good stuff.  Needless to say, I highly recommend the book. 

If you happen to have Amazon Prime and own a Kindle, you can "rent" this book for free.  Just search for it on your Kindle and choose the "Borrow for free" option.  I will warn you, though, this book is part of a trilogy and you can only rent one free book a month.  I'm waiting anxiously for Dec. 1 so I can go rent the second book.  I'll probably have to buy the third book because I don't think I'll be able to wait until Jan. 1 to get that one!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Recap

How was your Thanksgiving week?

My family had the whole week off!
No school...
No work...
No evening activities...

It was very,VERY nice.

We enjoyed playing games (a little TurkeyFoot dominoes at Thanksgiving, anyone?), watching videos, going to see the Muppets movie in the theater (very cute!) and spending lots of good, quality time with extended family.

Oh, yeah, we did a little Black Friday shopping too ;).
I will admit, we were some of those crazy people waiting outside Target in the cold for an hour until it opened at midnight.  Did I mention it was cold????  As in 27 degrees cold!

But, it was worth it.  Target was so organized and calm.  There was no pushing, no mad or mean people.  And there were TONS of helpful sales people - yes, even at midnight on Black Friday.  And, best of all, we got everything on our list.  I can't tell you what we got on here because it might involve Christmas presents for family members and those family members just might be reading this.  Don't worry, you'll like it ;).

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend as well.  Now we can all go full swing into Christmas,

Another Year Older

Happy Birthday, Sweetie.
I love you!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blogging for Books: Life, in Spite of Me

Life, in Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson

(from Amazon) She wanted to die. God had other plans.
Overwhelmed by wave after wave of emotional trauma, Kristen Anderson no longer wanted to live. One January night, determined to end her pain once and for all, the seventeen-year-old lay across train tracks not far from her home and waited to die.

Instead of peace, she found herself immersed in a whole new nightmare.

Before the engineer could bring the train to a stop, thirty-three freight cars passed over her at fifty-five miles per hour. After the train stopped and Kristen realized she was still alive, she looked around—and saw her legs ten feet away.

Surviving her suicide attempt but losing her legs launched Kristen into an even deeper battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as unrelenting physical pain—all from the seat of a wheelchair. But in the midst of her darkest days, Kristen discovered the way to real life and a purpose for living.

My Thoughts:

Wow!  I have discovered I really love reading memoirs - true life accounts of how someone is surviving in this life.  And talk about a survivor!  At age 17, Kristen didn't want to survive; she wanted to die.  She made a split-second decision to lay across the train tracks and end her life.  In her memories of that night, she remembers the train trying to suck her up into it but something supernaturally pushed her down on that track and kept her from dying.  She didn't know God at that time in her life, but through her struggles and recovery, she met him and realized it was his hand on her that night.  I get goosebumps just thinking of that now.

This book is very real.  Kristen does not gloss over any of her feelings or over any of her realities.  She was a severely depressed teenager who was misdiagnosed and not taken seriously by several doctors.  She offers great insight into what teenage depression looks like and how it can end, if parents and doctors don't take it seriously. 

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Kristen also shows how God can take a broken life - physically, mentally and spiritually - and transform it for his glory.  Kristen's full-time job now is talking to teenagers struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, taking them seriously and showing them a better way in life.

Life, in Spite of Me is honest, gritty and inspiring.  I thought it was wonderful!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I received an electronic copy of this book free with the Blogging for Book program.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Booksneeze: The Realms Thereunder

The Realms Thereunder - Ross Lawhead

(from the back cover)  A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraith-like creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.  Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland.  And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.

Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore.  Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify.  Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real.  They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.

But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality - a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners fo the British Isles.  Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures.  Together, they must confront the past, the present and points beyond to defeat the ultimate thread to humanity.

Nothing they've seen so far prepares them for what The Realms Thereunder.

My Thoughts

OK, I must start this review by pointing out that I'm not really a fan of fantasy.  Why I picked this book to review, I don't know.  That being said, even thought I didn't like the genre, I stuck it out and read every word.

The story jumps around in time a lot.  In the beginning of book, there are two time periods - the present where Freya Reynolds is a college student at Oxford and Daniel Tully is homeless and living on the streets, and eight years ago where the two were, unknowingly, lured into a secret underground world.  Then as the book progressed, Daniel and Freya are separated in the present to, really, two other time periods.  So then, you have three separate storylines going, along with trying to remember the original one.  To me, that was very confusing.  I constantly had to go back in the book to refresh myself on what had just happened in that time period (3 chapters ago!). 

My other complaint with the book is the storyline (at least the one from eight years ago), seemed all to familiar.  Two children whisked to a secret world where it's the good wizard and his forces battling that bad wizard and his forces.  The bad wizard must be destroyed but only a brave child with a pure heart can rid the world of evil.  Sound like anything familiar?  A little Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, anyone?

The book really doesn't resolve any of the conflicts within it.  It's almost more of an intro into the next book, which, I have to say, I won't be reading.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I read this book as part of the Booksneeze program for bloggers.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scouting for Fun

Boy Scouts is a wonderful organization and our local Pack is great.  There are fun activities scheduled almost every week.

An added bonus?  David is not the only one who can join in the fun.  Siblings are (almost) always invited!

Here are some things we've done so far:
The Bike Rodeo

Halloween Dress-up/Fun Night (much candy was received)

 Cub Scout Day at our local State Park.  Their first archery lessons.

There has also been a magic show and a scrapbooking night.  Coming up this week is a trip to the fire station.

Boys can start Cub Scouts (as a Tiger Cub) in the first grade.  If you have a first grade boy and you haven't already, go check out your local Boy Scouts for great (cheap) fun for all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My little Tiger

This year, David is finally old enough to join Boy Scouts.  His daddy is an Eagle Scout and his Papaw has held many positions in his local Boy Scout troop over the years, so this is an important time for him. 

He is my little Tiger Cub and I'm so proud of him.