Thursday, May 6, 2021

Friday Five: Mother's Day Weekend


What a week!  It's really been a whirlwind of track meets with a few other commitments thrown in as well.  And you know what?  It's been fantastic.  I am going to savor the days of being too busy because before too long I won't have kids at home and I will be wishing for an activity filled week.  Last night was the high school conference track meet.  Middle Sister had the 3000, 4x8 and 1500 to run, but she had felt sick all day at school.  She did run the 3K, and did OK (not great by any means) and ended up vomiting afterward.  She still didn't feel well and said she knew she needed to vomit again but wanted to try to run the 1500.  So, we stuck around and she did run the 1500, but after a day of not eating because of her stomach and vomiting she was out of gas at the end of that race.  She's home resting today and we are praying for a quick recovery so she can run well at districts on Thursday next week.  Tonight we're at the middle school conference track meet for Little Sister.  

I'm barely finding any leisure reading time and school has also been crazy, but apparently there is still time to peruse online for things I want to buy.  Here are this week's finds:

1.  Loose Pop Culture Graphic Sleeveless T

2.  Dusk To Dawn Tee

3. Women's Cropped Wide Leg Fashion Pants

4.  The Sweatshirt

5.  Puff Sleeve Top in Eyelet

6.  Tiered Ruffle Maxi Dress

7.  Picro Tiered Tunic Blouse

8.  Short Sleeve Rash Guard

9.  Aerie Deconstructed Crewneck Sweater

10.  Princess Charlotte Turns Six - and I always enjoy a good photo of the royals - especially one of William and Kate's children. Here is the latest one just released.

That's it for me this week.  What's caught your eye?

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday: The Personal Librarian

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released book I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

Due out: June 29, 2021

Synopsis taken from Amazon:  

The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian--who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white--her complexion is dark because she is African American.

The Personal Librarian
 tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Blast From the Past: May 2011

 It's time to look back at what my reading look liked a decade ago.  I love a trip down memory lane - and because my reading has been nearly non-existent this past week as I try to get some ordering done before my budget is frozen, I don't have a whole lot of my own reading to share.   

Here's a look back at May of 2011:

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson - set in Grenada, Iowa, I enjoyed the Midwest setting that felt so familiar to me. This is one family's story beginning in 1973 at the wedding of one daughter and spanning the last decades of the twentieth century. I loved this book when I read it.

The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies is the follow-up to The Lemonade War and finishes off a few things from the first book.  There are five books in this series and by this second one, I was sold on them.  Great for third and fourth graders.

The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure- McClure traces the travels of Laura Ingalls Wilder's family, looking for the Big Woods of Wisconsin and moving through the various places Wilder lived.  As a huge fan of these books when I was growing up, I loved this look at Laura from a different perspective.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan - I love this author and am always glad when she has a new book coming out.  This one centers around three generations of women in the Kelleher family, each with their own story to tell.  This one was perfect to read as summer approached and would have made a great beach read.

How about you? What were you reading back in 2011? Have you read any of these books?

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Five: It's Almost May!


This week we had three track meets in our evenings.  The weather has finally turned around and it has been delightful. But that means I've barely been online and haven't blogged at all or even read a single book.  This time of year is busy with work and activities but I'm going to enjoy every moment after a spring last year that was anything but busy.  

I'm sharing some great warm-weather items that I'd love to have myself, but I'm trying to practice some restraint. Maybe something will catch your eye.

1.  Madewell Parks Project Saguaro National Parks T

2.  Puffed Sleeve Mixed Media Top

3.  Floral Peasant Blouse

4.  Open Stitch Crew Neck Sweater

5.  Saige Platform Sandal

6.  JCrew Popover in Liberty Mauvey Floral

7.  Embroidered Flutter Sleeve Top

8.  Glyder Halfway Joggers

9.  Even the Rich podcast

10.  William and Kate's Tenth Anniversary

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday: Yoga Pant Nation

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: Yoga Pant Nation by Laurie Gelman

Due out: July 13, 2021

Product Description taken from Amazon:

The hilarious, irreverent Jen Dixon is class mom—again—for her son’s fifth grade year, and a class bully, spin-teacher training, and her irresistible granddaughter keep her on her toes and perpetually in yoga pants.

The now beloved hero of Laurie Gelman’s Class Mom and You’ve Been Volunteered has a lot on her plate this year in Yoga Pant Nation—from childcare duties for her daughter’s two-year-old to her determined mission to become a spin instructor. When her husband’s ex-wife shows up to her first ever class as a full-fledged teacher—and compliments her performance!—she can’t help but wonder what the catch is.

Throw in a mandate from the PTA president to raise $10,000 for the fifth graders’ new tablets and her granddaughter’s other grandmother (whom no one has ever met) visiting for Christmas, and Jen is going to need more than her regular spin class to get her through the year. But as ever, humor is her best stress relief. Her acerbic emails to the class parents and friendly spars with her daughter over how organic is organic-enough for baby food will have you laughing out loud and texting Jen’s best lines to your friends.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Friday Five

 It's time for another Friday Five!  I have lots of work at school right now as I need to get my budget spent within this next week or two. I love spending other peoples' money and buying books is another thing I'm really good at.  Prom is also this weekend and there is a little but of activity with that going on as well.  

So, enjoy what I've found this week:

10. Prince Louis Turns Three - and Kate commemorates the event with a photo

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Middle Grade and YA Books : Don't Miss These Titles

 One of the reasons I have only a book or two to review on Mondays is that I have been working in some middle and young adult selections.  I have ordered so, so many books for my school library (which is a good problem) that I could read all day every day and never truly catch up.  I hate when kids ask about a book and I don't have much I can tell them about it.  

Here are three amazing (and very different) books I will be pressing into my students' hands:

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle- I've had this one sitting around since last year and was told by a student that it was depressing.  Well, I love a good dose of that type of reading and absolutely  loved this book. Ogle's novel is autobiographical up to a point (I'm assuming he took some liberties with the retelling and therefore it has landed in the fiction category), and it is a hard story to read.  His mom is abusive, they live in poverty, and even school doesn't seem to be a safe haven for him.  And yet, Ogle succeeds. I think a lot of students will be able to identify with his story. I'm hoping that will give them hope.  

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat - this book has had a ton of attention - and won a ton of awards - and it is deserving of them all!  I don't read a ton of middle grade non-fiction, but this is one that I am hoping teachers decide to use with classes in the future.  Most of my middle grade students are familiar with the thirteen boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand a few years ago. They don't know details to the story but are clearly interested in the topic. Soontornvat's book gives a detailed account in a way that is easily readable and interesting. I already knew how things were going to end, and yet I still found myself turning pages rapidly.  The photographs add to the story and I feel this one has appeal to every student. 

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas- I loved The Hate U Give and I think I love Concrete Rose just as much.  This is prequel of sorts - although it could definitely be a stand-alone novel. Maverick's story is shared in this book: he finds himself a teenage father and then shortly thereafter finds out an ex-girlfriend of his is pregnant with his child as well.  Thomas doesn't romanticize teen parenting at all. And she also shows how gang violence and guns impact people more than physically. The message in this one is good, but I also loved visiting characters at a different time in their lives.  I'm hoping that Thomas isn't done with these people and we can see them again in some future book.

Check out all of these gems if you are in need of something to read!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hunting Wives

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released book I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

Due out: May 18, 2021

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.

Sophie O'Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she's feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie's curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Non-Fiction Tuesday: Upcoming Release: I Left My Homework in the Hamptons

 I love non-fiction, and seeing what is coming out soon is always exciting. Here's one new title I can't wait to read.

I Left My Homework in the Hamptons: What I Learned Teaching the Children of the One Percent by Blythe Grossberg

Due out: August 17, 2021

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A captivating memoir about tutoring for Manhattan’s elite, revealing how a life of extreme wealth both helps and harms the children of the one percent.

Ben orders daily room service while living in a five-star hotel. Olivia collects luxury brand sneakers worn by celebrities. Dakota jets off to Rome when she needs to avoid drama at school.

Welcome to the inner circle of New York’s richest families, where academia is an obsession, wealth does nothing to soothe status anxiety and parents will try just about anything to gain a competitive edge in the college admissions rat race.

When Blythe Grossberg first started as a tutor and learning specialist, she had no idea what awaited her inside the high-end apartments of Fifth Avenue. Children are expected to be as efficient and driven as CEOs, starting their days with 5:00 a.m. squash practice and ending them with late-night tutoring sessions. Meanwhile, their powerful parents will do anything to secure one of the precious few spots at the Ivy Leagues, whatever the cost to them or their kids.

Through stories of the children she tutors that are both funny and shocking, Grossberg shows us the privileged world of America’s wealthiest families and the systems in place that help them stay on top.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Monday Mini-Reviews: It's Not All Historical Fiction

 This week wasn't full of reading as I'd hoped, but what I am reading is so good.  I really haven't picked up  a horrible book (knock on wood) in a very long time.  

Here are the two I devoured this past week:

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz is an underrated gem.  I had a hard time describing this one to friends but I loved every last page of it.  Schultz tells the story of Ellie and Brick who are high school sweethearts when the novel begins. The novel traces their lives: their shotgun wedding that derails their post-high school plans, the birth of children, struggles in their marriage, and secrets that eventually are exposed.  This family feels like most families to me. I also loved the way Schultz was able to create the various time periods in this novel. I loved the nostalgic look back at different decades from the clothing, cars, and mentions of tv shows, I loved this aspect of the book.  

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth - I love Hepworth's books and this is another great one addition to her body of work.  I picked this one up on Saturday afternoon and had it finished up on Sunday morning.  Fern and Rose are twin sisters, and Rose has always taken care of Fern. Fern has some sensory processing issues that make certain situations difficult, but overall she is happy with her life working at the public library. Readers get to know Rose through journal entries she writes about her childhood.  And when Fern discovers that Rose wants a baby but can't get pregnant, she decides to find a way to get pregnant and have a baby for her sister.  Except Rose is perhaps not as nice to Fern as she pretends she is.  There is some psychological thriller-ish suspense in this one and I turned pages rather quickly to find out the resolution.

I started Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heany, hoping I would get it done yesterday as well, but the weather was beautiful and I went for a long walk with a friend, so I am hoping to return to some reading tonight since the weather looks downright frigid.  

Happy Monday, everyone!