Sunday, January 31, 2016


The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every once in a while you pick up a book and expect one thing and get something completely different. That was my experience with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I'm not really sure what I was expecting from the book, but it was not the story that was told. The book group that I am apart of (although my schedule hasn't actually allowed me to go to any of the meetings yet) picked this book for our January read. So if I'm honest, I just got the book from the library and started reading without really knowing anything about the book except for the title, the author and what the cover looked like.

Wow, just read that over again and it sounds like I am winding up to say how horrible the book is, in reality I really liked it. There were aspects that were a little long winded (it is a loooooong book), but the overall plot and storyline were really interesting and made me want to read to the end.

It all takes place in London soon after the end of WWI. A "well-to-do" mother and daughter are struggling to make ends meet so are forced to rent out a couple of rooms to a young married couple. The relationship that develops between the daughter and the young wife is the basis of the book and drives the entire plot. I will say that the beginning of the book is a little dry, but it picks up fairly quickly.

I'm not sure if I enjoyed the book as much as I did because I had zero knowledge of what it was about or if it was because it was just well written; I guess we will never know. I will however, recommend this book. One warning though, if you are looking for a light-hearted or uplifting novel, this is not the one that you should pick up. This is one of those novels that is good when you really want to invest time in a story and stick with it for a while.

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Knitting Again

I finally picked up the knitting needles again. Okay, it hasn't actually been that long since I finished a knitting project (first week of January), but that is about a year in a knitter's life. I haven't been able to knit too much during the school year, but I have had at least one project on the needles throughout the fall. For some reason however, after I finished the last of Christmas knits (yes, it was late), I was having a hard time figuring out what to knit next.

What yarn should I use?
What pattern should I pick?
Who should I make something for?
Lace or not?

From Craftsy

Then I saw this; Drachenfels by Mairlynd for sale on Craftsy.

A shawl kit, and it was on sale. Someone already answered the questions for me. The picked the yarn, pattern and put it all together already.  All I had to do was pick the color scheme and click "buy." So, I did. And I decided to make it for myself. That's right - I am knitting something for myself!

It was delayed because of this small snow storm that we had last weekend, but it finally got here on Wednesday and I immediately cast on. I love it. It is a beginners knit so I can easily knit it during class (which I did), while watching TV (and basketball) and while listening to podcasts. It is the perfect knit for right now.

The yarn is not the best, but it works well with the pattern and honestly I don't need anything more for what I will be using the shawl/wrap for. As of right now, I would recommend this kit. I'll keep you updated as I knit.

This post was not sponsored by Craftsy.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy (Time Warp Trio #3)The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy by Jon Scieszka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had many people comment on my goal of 100 books to read this year, especially since I am finishing my masters and will be trying to find a job all in the first six months of the year. My response is generally always the same. I am a firm believer that you have to make time every day to read; even if it is only for five minutes. Additionally, as a teacher, I need to read the books that I am either offering to my students or that I know my students are reading. What use am I if I have no knowledge about what books are out there for my students. I don't know if you have noticed, but there are a TON of children's books out there. I am both overwhelmed by the number of them and beyond excited to start tackling reading them!

The first children's book that I read this year was The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy by Jon Scieszka. It was recommended to me by a teacher at the school that I am interning at this year. It was great. This is part of a series of books about three boys who travel through time. They do so through the use of a book that one boy received from his uncle. They really don't know how the book works which leads to being put in some interesting places in time. Once they have traveled, they can't return home until they find the book in the time period they are currently visiting. This book took them to the time of cowboys that culminated in a show down with General Custard. I'll stop there so that I don't give anything away. This is a great book for those students that love adventure and fantasy at the same time. I have several students that I have in mind for this already. It is a P guided reading book with a 620 lexile score. I can't wait to see what my students think.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 2, 2016

1st Book of the Year

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1)The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished my first book of the new year - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. My mother recommended this book to me years ago, but I never got around to reading it. I have had a few days off so have been reading as much as I possibly can and decided to pick this book back up and see how it was.

I loved it. It was just what I needed right now. It was a quick read and wasn't too serious. I would say lighthearted, but some of the topics are pretty dark, but are written in way that doesn't bring you down while reading. It is a mystery, but isn't written like your traditional mystery novel. It follows a woman in Botswana who has opened her own private investigation business. There are several cases that are described in the book, most short and entertaining. There is one that spans a larger portion of the book, but most are just a chapter. While reading about these cases, you are also learning about Precious, the main character. You learn about her past and what has led her to set up her own business.

I really enjoyed this book and didn't want to put it down, so ended up reading until around 1 am last night. It is a series, so I will be getting the second book in the series soon. Would I recommend this? Yes, just don't expect your typical mystery novel when you pick it up.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

So, my "brief hiatus" was a bit longer than I was planning on. Quick snapshot of the last 8 months:

  • passed my Praxis test
  • started graduate school
  • started my teaching internship - 3rd grade
  • read a lot
  • knitted, didn't have too much time for this unfortunately
  • Matthew started pre-school
Obviously, with a now 3 year old it has been a rather busy and crazy time in our household. I don't graduate until June, so we have another 6 months of craziness ahead of us. 

With a new year however, I want to start posting again. I am not going to keep a set schedule for posts or anything, but I will post when I finish a book or a knitting project. So, keep checking back!

Currently reading:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Brief Hiatus

I am currently in the last stages of studying for my Praxis exam - I take the test Monday. In order to devote as much time to it as possible. I am taking a brief hiatus from the blog. I will be back next week after the test. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z Comes to an End

Today marks the last day of April, and with that, the end of the A to Z challenge. While I haven't been able to post every day, I have managed to post something for every letter (at least I will have once this post goes live!). I have learned a lot this month about myself and the process for posting - what works for me and what doesn't. With school starting at the beginning on June I know that posting everyday will probably not be realistic, but this month has shown what I am capable of doing and I am hopeful that I will be able to keep this up.

So, with that preamble out of the way - here are the last three letters of the alphabet.

X is for X-ray! -  I had the hardest time coming up with something for X. This is by far the hardest letter of the alphabet for this challenge. I asked Matthew if he had any suggestions. He informed me that X was his favorite letter and that x-ray starts with X, so for that reason, x is for x-ray!

Y is for Yarn - It would just seem wrong to have Y stand for anything else. Since we are having to watch our pennies around here, I have put myself on a yarn purchasing moratorium for this year. But I HAVE TO KNIT. So this has forced me to actually delve into my stash. I had more than I thought. I have also gone back to my hibernating projects and am working on finishing the ones with promise and am frogging (unraveling) some that I know I will never use or will just be unhappy with the finished project - so even more yarn to use!! This my friends is why you have a stash.

Z is for Zoo - With school starting in a month, I am trying to take advantage of the time that I have left and am trying to spend more time with Matthew. For a mommy and son outing we met some friends at the zoo yesterday and it was an absolute blast. Going to the zoo with Matthew now is a whole new experience. He is more interested in the animals and gets excited when he sees something new. He also tells me which ones he likes and makes it known if he wants to move on to see other animals or if he just wants to run. The weather was perfect and I had an absolute blast with my little man.

Thank you Regina for going on the carousal since mommy has vertigo!

With that the A to Z challenge comes to an end. I hope that you enjoyed following along.