The Host, by Stephenie Meyer

Let’s be honest. This book is 619 pages and I read it in like 2 days. I’m pretty sure I’m going to reread it before turning it back in to the library next week. When I first heard of the book, I was not at all tempted to read it. I enjoyed the twilight series, yes, but I couldn’t see myself reading a book about aliens. Then I made the mistake of reading the sneak preview on Stephenie’s website several months ago. And once again, I was hooked. I promptly put it on hold at the library, and got one of the first copies.

Stephenie Meyer manages to bring to life what seems to be a complete impossibility, much like she does in Twilight (etc.). This book is built on the premise that body-snatching aliens have captured earth and are walking around in our bodies. Only a very few human rebels remain, and they are being hunted.

Melanie was one of those, but she was caught, and a soul (the name the aliens give themselves) named Wanderer was inserted into her body. But Melanie refuses to give up so easily. Most hosts just fade away once a soul takes over their body, but Melanie stays active and alive inside her body, which is now a prison.

Fighting for control of what is now her body, Wanderer does all she can to banish Melanie to the oblivion where she should be, but instead, they become friends. Driven by Melanie’s memories of Jared and Jamie, Wanderer goes off in search of them. But it only gets harder once she finds them.

This book is compelling and full of unexpected twists, but it does end how I wanted it too, (at least how I wanted it to after reading enough to really know what I wanted.)

I fully recommend this to anyone who does or does not like alien books.

Love, Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

It’s hard to write a review of a sequel without giving away too much of the ending of the previous book. I’ll do my best, and keep it short.

This book is written as the world’s longest letter from Stargirl to Leo. Though I’m not always a fan of the diary-entry type novel, this one is very well written and had me in tears more than once. Full of interesting characters almost as quirky as Stargirl herself, Love, Stargirl is funny and touching.

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

Narrated by high school junior Leo Borlock, Stargirl tells the story of nonconformity. A new girl has come to Mica High School, and she calls herself Stargirl. She does nothing like everyone else, and seems to enjoy it. Her clothes are weird, she carries a ukulele and pet rat around with her, and she sings happy birthday to everyone on their birthdays. No one knows quite what to make of her.

After the first shock wears off, she becomes the most popular girl in the school. Ukuleles are seen everywhere and the local pet store sells out of rats. Leo falls for her, hard. But popularity can only last for so long. Soon the very things that made her popular lead to her social downfall, and the students turn brutally against her; even Leo urges her to become “normal.”

Though I’m (luckily) no longer in high school, the story took me back to those days when popularity, or at least social acceptance, seemed to dominate life. Even though it’s been a week or more since reading it, I find myself thinking back to the story, to Leo, and Stargirl, and hoping that I can teach my children that it’s okay to be different.


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Let's be honest

Have you ever seen anything cuter? I didn't think so.


It's what's on the plate that counts, right?

My Grandma is the best bargain shopper you will ever find. And I mean the BEST! If you need anything, let her know, and she will find it at a garage sale, some deeply discounted clearance rack, or somewhere, and she will get a great deal.

When I went to college, I knew I was going to need some kitchen things, since I was going to be living in Heritage Halls and cooking for myself. My grandma found a set of Corelle plates (and bowls, and mugs, etc.) at a garage sale that looked like they had never been used. They were in the original packaging, and it was service for twelve. I grew up on Corelle, so I was stoked to have a matching set and service for twelve! Wahoo! And then I took them out of the box.
Wow. That's the only word that can describe these beauties. Unique in all the world. I could see why they were still in their original packaging.

I didn't use them much at school. By the time I got there, other roommates had already unpacked kitchen things, and they mostly sat in storage. Once I got married, however, I had no excuse, and these were our everyday plates for the last almost four years.

As I'm sure you can imagine, food easily gets lost on the plate. Glancing down, it is hard to tell if you have missed a few bites, or if you are just seeing the plate. It gets rather confusing. But, they were in great condition so I couldn't validate spending money for new ones.

Until I graduated.

Okay, so it was actually February when I finished my last class that I was rewarded with these beautiful new plates (I now have service for 16)! Thank you mom and dad! Every meal looks and tastes that much better!


Happy Birthday to me!

Talk about a great birthday! I got to stretch my birthday out for almost a full week. It all started with the surprise birthday/graduation party (okay, I'll stop talking about that, finally) last Sunday. On Thursday (my actual birthday,) Tom came home after seminary before going to work (he usually just goes straight to work) to have breakfast with us. Laura picked me up for play group up at the church, and Boni and Kim had brought treats to celebrate, so thoughtful! Then Tom was home by four. We had a scrumptious dinner and played Scrabble (my favorite).

Friday, Tom had gotten subs for both seminary and school, (and didn't tell me about it until Thursday--what a great surprise!) so we slept in. Then we dropped the kids off at my in-laws for a sleep-over! This was a first (okay, Ella spent the night at my parent's when Rico was born, but that hardly counts.) That meant that we got the whole day to be together without having to rush, or worry about the kids, or listen to whiny kids, or get them home to bed on time, or anything! It was WONDERFUL! Thank you JoAnne!

We started by having lunch at Maggiano's Little Italy in Bellevue. Let me just say, I was a big fan. I got the chicken saltimbocca, and it was probably the best food I have ever eaten. I must find the recipe right away. Then we walked around Bellevue Square and I bought some earrings. It was so nice to relax and have nowhere to go and nothing to do. We did some other shopping and rented a movie. Lunch was so filling that we didn't end up eating dinner, just had some watermelon when we got home. Then we played Scrabble (yes, again) and watched a movie.

As nice as it was to be childless for 24 hours, I definitely missed them; they are so much a part of my life! I love my cute little kiddos! I don't know what I would do without them. Thank you again Richard and JoAnne for watching them, and thank you Tom for arranging it all behind my back! :) It was a perfect birthday!


Rant and Rave

In honor of my favorite feature in the Sunday paper, I will be doing my own rant and rave post:

Rave: To Tom and my parents (and in-laws) for planning and executing a surprise birthday party/graduation ceremony (mentioned below). I have always wanted a surprise party!

Rant: To Costco for having really cute shirts. Yes, I know that sounds like it should be a rave, but do I really need new shirts? Probably not. Would I go out shopping and buy myself new shirts? Probably not. But when they're right there where I do my grocery shopping, can I turn them down? Probably not.

Rant: To Rico-boy for not taking his naps today. I'm not sure what his beef is, but I don't think he slept either time he's been in his crib today, and man, he needs a nap!

Rave: To Kim and Boni for bringing birthday treats to playgroup today. Yum, yum! And to Laura for picking me up and bringing me there.

Rant: To myself for picking up the abridged version of Oliver Twist at the library, I wanted the real thing, and now I don't have anything to read.

Rave: To Ella for being such a good cooperator and sharer at playgroup today! Hooray for not throwing tantrums!

Rave: To the library for story time. Ella loves it, Rico loves it, I love it; what more can I say?

Rave: To so many great authors who write great books for me to read, and to the library, so I don't have to spend my precious money on books.

Rant: To all the lenders who will not let me refinance my house. Grrr. We had no problem getting a loan in the first place, but now somehow my house impossible to refi. Explain that.

Rave: To Lisa (the plant) for blooming again! So pretty! And for having two babies! Congrats!

Rave: To Sammy (another plant) for growing nicely and looking pretty. I love plants!

What are your rants and raves?