Monthly Archives: September 2012

Must-Read Middle reader

  Back to school means lots of new books in the school library for me to enjoy…..I love opening the boxes straight from the publisher and smelling that new book smell.  I love knowing that I am the first one to open that crisp cover….it really is heaven to me…no sarcasm.  All those stories just waiting to be read…..there really is something magical about it all.  The hardest part is trying to decide which one I am going to read first. My choice gets easier after I let the students have the first pick (mighty nice of me, I know).   I let a week go by before I randomly grab one.  My first one of the year was The Book of One Hundred Truths by Julie Schumacher, and I was not disappointed.  This is the story of 12 1/2 year of Theodora Grumman and she is a liar.  She is about to leave for three weeks to go visit her Nenna and Granda on the coast of New Jersey.  She goes there every summer and visits with her father’s family…..the eccentric side of the family.  However, this summer is different for so many varied reasons.  Her Granda’s health is declining, her cousins all will be staying at the house, and she has to watch her 7-year-old nosy cousin, Jocelyn.  Yet, perhaps the biggest change is in Thea herself.   Thea has taken to lying about everything over the past few months and has withdrawn….her parents have no clue as to why.  Only Thea knows….she is keeping such a big secret that is pushing her toward these lies.  Her mother has given her a notebook and has asked her to keep a list of 100 truths….100 things that she knows to be true.    So Thea does…..but she refuses to tell the one truth that is tearing her up….she lost her best friend…..and it was all her fault.  The  book is perfect for middle school readers….it will grab their attention straight from the beginning and will refuse to let go until the very last page.


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      Here is the story of Patience Murphy in The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife.  I am fascinated with childbirth and the history of childbirth just like most mothers seem to be.  After giving birth to 4 babies….2 with an epidural and pain meds and 2 without, it fascinates me to the hows and wheres and whys of childbirth before the thought of an epidural, medications, prenatal care, postnatal care, surgery rooms, sitz baths, Lamaze classes and so on and so forth.  I am fascinated that women had countless babies under these unfortunate circumstances and then proceeded to get up the next few days and resume their daily chores with a new baby at their hip.  They didn’t have a choice….it just was their only option.  Now we have countless options as mothers , and I don’t think too many realize just how fortunate we are.   These women did not have regular checkups…no ultrasound to see their baby’s little fingers and toes, no glucose testing, and no prenatal vitamins.   A lot of women could not afford to have a doctor deliver their baby in hospital, it was just too pricey ($20), so they relied on midwives.  Most who learned the trade from another….no formal training.  It all fascinates me.

So I find myself reading these books with admiration for these women….not just those who gave birth, but those who helped bring those beautiful babies into this world.  Pioneers.  I am truly humbled.  And here is a story that I could not get enough.  Patience Murphy is a midwife quite by accident.  She is running from a past that could ruin her life, so with a new name and a new friend…..she falls into the life of a midwife in rural West Virginia.  Patience is caught up in a time surrounded by racial tension, Stock Market Crash and poverty.  I love the way she chronicles all the births she delivers…I admire her spunk and strength, I adore her spirit and was completely caught up in her relationship with Daniel Hester.   I am a sucker for happiness.

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Wildly inappropriate and entertaining

    This book was ever so much fun to read! Author Heather McElhatton is quite the witty writer. (And I believe it is the second book to Pretty Little Mistakes…I will be checking that out).  This is called Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married, and it is what I imagine those Real Housewives of random place reality shows are like.   I have never watched them, so I am making a assumption….go with it.  The story is about Jennifer Johnson who works at the famous Keller’s Department Store at the bottom….she meets Brad Keller (the CEO’s son) and they begin to date and eventually get married.  Jennifer soon realizes being a trophy wife to a mega rich man comes with some perks…a multimillion home, a maid, designer clothes, fabulous meals, medi-spa treatments, etc.  Yet many of these along with so much else because the cons to a marriage to Brad Keller who is the running for store president.    Jennifer’s life alters more than she could imagine…she now is expected to entertain and woo investor for her husband, she has to try to dodge Mother Keller, her ultra controlling and evil mother-in-law, and her relationship with her best friend Christopher hits a bump due to the mixed-up values the Keller’s preach.

Yet Jennifer is determined to make it work….I give her credit…I would have been out of there after the hellish honeymoon in the Virgin Islands where the marriage was never consummated due to the bizarre events that occurred.  Throughout the book, Jennifer creates lists (and I heart lists).  She makes list on traits of a trophy wife, things a virgin should know, what women think men think about during sex, what men really think about during sex, etc.  Really some entertaining lists.  The book ends in delicious chaos and quite perfectly, if you ask me.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to laugh…nothing depressing or gruesome in this book.   Sometimes, we just need to relax and be entertained.

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Crime in Sweden

    So I have been away from the blog for some time….not away from reading mind you….just writing.  Our family had 2 more trips in August, and then I headed to Columbia, MD to compete in the Iron Girl Triathlon and then before I knew it….back to school.  I am now back with a list of  books to add plus I will be creating a post soon about the Battle of the Books which I host for my students in 5th and 6th grade….lots of wonderful books on that list that I will be sharing.  So please don’t think I have forgotten you….

Anyway, this book is called Unwanted by Swedish author Kristina Ohlsson, and it is a whirlwind of crime, love, jealousy, sex and murder.  This is the third crime-based author I have read and am yet again impressed.  The story starts on a train where a mother and her young daughter board together.  All seems to be going perfectly fine, but at one of the pitstops….mom gets out to take a call.  It is during this time that her daughter vanishes.  The action starts immediately….my mind began to work quickly.  What happened?  Where did she go?  Who was on the train?  Why?  We are introduced to the police force….2 men and a women in particular who are assigned to this case which begins to reveal more than just a missing child.  The story goes to dark places…some things people do are just plan icky.

The police try to locate the little girl’s father. but they are not successful….he seems to have vanished.  He becomes #1 suspect….the book twists and turns…at one point I thought I had it all figured out only to realize I was half right.  (Reason #46 I am not a detective.)  I read feverishly until I had the book finished, and then had to text my wonderful friend with my thoughts (she had read it previously)…there is something magical about sharing a good book with someone.

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Filed under adult, fiction, mystery