Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Matched by Ally Condie

I was intrigued by this trilogy a few times when I was in the book store.  You can't help but notice the covers.  All three are very bright and grab your attention.  However, when I saw love triangle, I had no intention of reading it.  I'm not much on "love stories"...but then one of my former students was reading it on goodreads.com and I thought it would give us something in common to talk about as we read it, and I have to admit, it was good.  I actually liked it and will go pick up book 2 today.  Not too mushy and just enough of the dystopia society to keep you hooked.  And, of course, the end left you wanting to see what was next...definitely recommend for the dystopia readers and young adult readers.

Summary from goodreads.com:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What a week!

I started the week with field day on Monday.  We took a different approach this year and took the kids on a field trip to Playtime Pizza.  I was prepared for a day of chaos and madness, but it actually turned out good!!  Exhausting but good!  To top off the week, we had our AR celebrations in the library for the kids who made their AR goals.  Luau's every single day.  I have officially mastered my hoola hooping skills! ha!  And, today was Kindergarten day.  Kindergarten got to come if they returned all their library books.  What was I thinking?!?  Lucky for me, I have an awesome hubby who likes to volunteer (although he may think twice after today!).  I could NEVER be a Kindergarten teacher!!!
After an exhausting week, we spent this afternoon looking at three houses in the country.  Basically, we looked at a turd on 15 acres.  Cute barn and chicken coop area though. :)  Then, a house on 10 acres with lots of potential but the house sits RIGHT ON the road and it's a highway, not a dirt road.  Might could deal with that on a dirt road.  And, last one made me sick!  GREAT house on 10 acres, completely remodeled and even had fencing done for the dogs, but someone built a house RIGHT BEHIND them.  So, no privacy!! :(  So...the search continues.  I plan to have fun with it.  I mean, who doesn't like to look at houses? 
But for now, I need life to slow down a little and just RELAX this weekend!  Hello 3 day weekend!!!  Please don't fly by!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Working on making a dream a reality...

Let me tell you a little about what has had our attention lately and completely side tracked us since Spring Break...
First, you should know that Big Bear and I had put ourselves on a "5 year plan" to work towards our dream of living in the country.  Then, on a whim, we went down the gravel road one Sunday at my parents place and looked at a place that has been for sale for a year and half.  I thought it was way over our heads remodel wise, then we went and looked at it and thought, "wow!  This has real potential!"  And, of course, the land speaks for itself and we LOVED the land.  All 45 acres of it!  Now, the owner was in Missouri working on the pipeline and we spent about 3 weeks waiting on him to get home before we could even get inside, but we had decided we were going for it.  So, we used those 3 weeks to get our money in order and get the banking part done.  Then, we waited.  And, went and looked at the land again on the 4-wheeler.  Gorgeous!

 So, we basically dreamed about it and fell in love with the place.  Then, the owner came home and we got inside.  My love waned a bit at that point.  I could see potential, but I also saw a lot of money and a lot of work. (And, that was BEFORE the inspection.)  I honestly only loved the porch on the house.  I was trying to find ways to make myself like it because the land was so perfect.  I even brainstormed how to build something else to live in!!  Well, my dad inspected it for us and as expected, there was some foundation issues, roof issues, heat and air issues...money, money, money.  The owner had already said we had to come up from our ballpark figure.  So, after dad gave us the low-down on repairs, we decided to walk away.  And, we did.  And, we were disappointed. 
 Next morning, owner texted and wanted to renegotiate.  So, we hired a professional inspector, really analyzed comps for the area and made a fair offer with US taking on ALL the repairs on the house. CrAzy!  But we were willing to live in our camper for the summer and do it.  The land is just too perfect.  End of a dirt road.  Private and my parents are right next door.  But, in the end, the owner just isn't realistic about the state of his house and his asking price.  So...we walked again. 
 Not sure what this journey means yet, but it has awakened our dream of living in the country.  And now we know we CAN do it and don't have to wait 5 years.  So...we have a realtor and are actively looking to make our dream come true.  Where, oh where, is this latest Benson adventure going to take us?  :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reconstructing Amelia by McCreight

I didn't realize they were making this one into a movie, but when I went to find a copy of the cover it looks like they are and maybe starring Nicole Kidman?!?  I really liked this book.  It keeps you guessing for sure!  Now, it is being compared to Gone Girl and I disagree with that, but it was definitely a book that you don't see where the story is heading.  It's sort of a mystery with a mean girl flare.  I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads.   This is for adults, not the young 'uns. :)

Summary from goodreads.com:
 A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter's life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It's about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mom's Day in the Country

 Yesterday we went to spend the day in the country with my parents and my brother.  We tried to get there way early and ended up maybe an hour early...we just can't get it together! ha!  But, we wanted to go fishing a little bit on the big pond.  Mom and Dad have 60 acres and the big pond is in the back corner, so away we went!! And, Bubba Bear got to go this trip (great thing about 3 dogs is everyone gets to take turns being the special one to get to go on trips...that's about the only plus I can give you for 3 dogs! LOL!).  Bubba Bear does chase the 4-wheeler and runs in front of it like an idiot, but other than that, he was AWESOME!  He was practically smiling all day!!  He loved it!  It was a great day of fishing, family and a little more fishing.  I did notice that I didn't get a picture with my Momma...shame on me!
 City dog?  I think not!  He plopped right down in the pond to cool off and we reeled them in one after another!  It was SO fun!!
 First official fish caught in Mom & Dad's pond!  That pond is FULL of brim and Kevin got a few bass!  Something big got on his hook a few times but got away and it even bent his hook!!  Got to catch that bad boy someday!

 Eye on the prize? ha!
 At times in the tall grass, all you could see were his ears flopping!! Haha!  We gotta get this boy out in the country!! He was loving life and crashed all the way home!

 The second fishing go around, Mom, Dad, Bubby and Valerie came out in the mule to see if we were making up just how fun it was to fish out there.  Bubba Bear and I caught a ride back instead of walking this time. 
PS.  There is no fashion contest in the country! :)

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Best book I've read yet this year!  I was so sad to say goodbye to these characters!!  I can't believe this is a debut novel for this author.  She did an outstanding job developing the characters in just 350ish pages.  I recommend this book for my reading friends.  I don't see how you could be disappointed.  Please consider the topic and realize their will be some hard to read scenes and a few graphic scenes.  This is an adult book and not appropriate for children.

Summary from amazon:
In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.