Reading Challenge 2012: The Host

I challenged myself to read 24 books this year and started with a list of 12 books I knew I wanted to read. I have not kept on track as much as I would like but I still have read more than normal for almost 4 months in. 

I started and finished reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer this week. The Host was published by Little, Brown and Company is an excellent Sci Fi book for those who don’t generally read Sci Fi.  The Host is set in a world that was invaded by aliens who took over the human bodies, living in them, with very few humans left that were not changed.

The story starts out when Wanderer, the soul, is inserted into her new host.  As she begins to understand her surroundings she realizes she can hear the host. Wanderer finds out that her host has information her “seeker” really wants.  As the story unfolds Wanderer realizes her host Melanie Stryder is unusually strong and actually talking to her. Wanderer slowly finds out Melanie’s story.  Melanie is reluctant to give away too much information to protect her loved ones but she wants them back so she has to try. Melanie has a brother Jamie and they met up with Jared, as far as they knew the only other human left.  Melanie and Jamie felt safe now with Jared there and they were building a life together sneaking and stealing food to survive. Melanie saw a cousin on tv, walking on the street trying to blend with all the “souls”, she knew she had to try and save her.  Melanie left Jared and Jamie to find her cousin Sharon and bring her back to live with them.

This is when Melanie got caught. Wanderer got inserted into the back of Melanie’s neck the same way as all the others and the story really begins. Wanderer feels weak hearing Melanie in her head all the time and decides she needs to do something and was considering going into a different host even though she hated the idea of being weaker than the host. She took a drive and found herself remembering Melanie’s memories of Jared and his warmth and love and touch, also Jamie and her mother instinct of her young brother she has been taking care of.  Melanie also started to trust Wanderer more and realized Wanderer loved Jared and Jamie now too.  They sought after them hoping to find them in her crazy Uncle Jebs “safe place”.

After almost dying in the desert trying to find them Wanderer and Melanie give up not being able to even move from dehydration, exhaustion, and starvation.  Wanderer wakes up to find a kind old man giving her water and then leaving and bringing back a group of people (humans) most of whom want to kill her. She winds up in a prison of some sort in Jeb’s  house in the caves.

The story gets complicated as Jeb gives the responsibility of what to do with Melanie’s body which is being occupied by Wanderer to Jared. Jeb has compassion on the alien and Jared is confused. As the months pass Wanderer is called Wanda and she is excepted more and one of the humans Ian starts to fall for her.
This book is exciting, romantic, funny, bloody, and very interesting. I really enjoyed this book. I would encourage you to read it and to think about how you might look to someone else, your actions, thoughts and morals. Are you loving, or cruel, do you think of others first, all of these things are brought up in this 59 chapter book.

I applaud Stephanie Meyer for once again writing a book that I had a hard time putting down. This wonderful author who was a stay at home mom before Twilight has really given me something to shoot for. Having passion about writing and getting things done even when life is hectic.

I am on to my next book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul By Howard Schultz. Hopefully between all of my home projects and homeschooling my kids I will still get my 24 books read this year.

Do you think it would count if I reread the Twilight Series? lol

Wake up challenge

I am challenging myself to start a new morning and evening routine which includes a in bed by/ wake up time. I have been reading moneysavingmom.com’s challenge to wake up! I am taking this challenge head on with a bit of hesitation but a lot of motivation.

I start school back next week and with it will come lots of extra stuff added to my schedule. I am taking 12 hours this semester which will include 3 online classes. This is on top of my already full schedule of taking care of the home an homeschooling.

My goals from last night were:
Before bed routine
15 minute cleanup
Clean kitchen sink (almost at least it was a massive improvement. Only one dish soaking!
Pjs on and teeth brushed
Plan what is for breakfast bagels and fruit
In bed by midnight I was actually in bed by 11:45!

Morning
Wake up by 8 I woke up with my alarm this morning and was out of bed by 8:20! This is really one of the biggest improvements as I have been getting up too late to mention as of late.

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Good morning! And here is too a new start! Coffee in hand music on my ear I can take on this day 🙂

Reading Challenge 2012: Update

This year I decided to challenge myself to read more and decided that 24 books would indeed be a challenge for me. Here is the list I came up with In January of books I wanted to read.

1. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
2. Satisfy my Thirsty Soul: For I am Desperate for Your Presence
3. The Money Saving Mom Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, And Save Thousands A Year
4. The Hunger Games
5. Catching Fire
6. Mocking Jay
7. Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
8. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
9. Americas Cheapest Family Gets your Right on The Money
10. Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
11. Bootcamp for Lousy House Keepers
12.  Hired at Home

I also have been adding to the list as the year progressed. The next book I will start reading will be Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. I have The Money Saving Mom Budget on hold at the Library in audio book and I could not find Pour Your Heart into It, So I decided to give this one a try.

13. The Host
14. Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
15. Water for Elephants
16. Eat that Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
17. Pride and Prejudice

As I said before I will keep adding as the year goes on. And stay tuned as I review some of the books.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

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This past week and a half I have been reading The Hunger Games Trilogy written by Suzanne Collins and Published by Scholastic.  I must admit it only took me that long because I was waiting to get the second two books from a friend.

I was obsessed with the books much like I was with the Twilight series. The series is an easy read with lots of action, blood, love, and confusion. Which to me the love and confusion seem perfectly relatable for many people especially the teens who this series was originally geared toward. The main Character is Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl who Takes care of her Mother and younger sister. She provides food for the family by hunting animals with one of her bows her Father made before he died in a mining accident.  She is joined in the unlawful hunting experience by her best friend Gale, who also has to provide for his family after his father died in the same mining accident. The book is set in the future where after the destruction of North America there is a nation formed called Panem which includes 13 districts and the capitol.

The first book called The Hunger Games lets us experience the 74th annual Hunger Games in which Katniss (who volunteered to go for her younger sister Primrose) and Peeta Mellark (a baker’s son) are selected to represent District 12 where they live.  The Hunger Games are set up by the Capitol to remind the remaining 12 Districts (since the 13th started a rebellion and was eradicated) who is in charge.  The Capitol is the only place where 2 children are not chosen to play in the Hunger Games which of 24 participants will only have one surviving victor.

The Hunger Games are based on survival and killing the other players before they kill you. This includes hunting for food and learning to use unfamiliar weapons.  The 74th annual games bring a twist when Peeta confesses of his love for Katniss only days before they begin.  The government is forced to make some changes in order to appease the viewers from the Capitol, whom have fallen in love with the “love birds” story.

As the rest of the books play out each character is tested and tried physically, mentally, and emotionally almost beyond what they can handle and in some cases way beyond. Katniss is torn between Peeta and Gale and Both are in love with her.

As a 30 year old woman I find myself thinking ‘I totally see where some of these characters are coming from’. The hardships forced on them like hunger, harsh government regulations,  and The Hunger Games are unlike anything we see in America.  The emotional trials they are put through like losing a parent, having to choose between 2 they really love, and taking care of family at great cost, are things a lot of Americans do go through. As I was growing up there were a lot of things we did without. At times we had no running water, gas, electricity or food. Not often, but were enough to help me relate to the characters in this book.  I am by nature a person who takes it upon myself to take care of those around me even when it is not my responsibility, which is a common characteristic of Katniss, and Gale and many others in the books.

Catching Fire and Mocking Jay, the other two books in the trilogy, do not disappoint in keeping with the theme of complex moral decisions, hardships, starvation, emotional turmoil, and the effects of war and and control hungry government.

Overall it was a great series, and based on how fast I read it, you can tell how much I enjoyed it. My only complaint is about the last book. I wish the end and epilogue explained more of how things happened.  That is probably the romantic in me, and since the book was not centered around romance, but war and tragedy, the lack of details makes sense. I am looking forward to the movie The Hunger Games which comes out March 23, 2012, and I encourage you to read the book before the movie comes out!

My Weekly Goals

Here is a recap of last weeks goals and what all I got done!

Family/ Mothering

1. Get 2-3 % of school done For Caleb and Kathryn

2. Listen to an audio book every day

3. Spend 5 minutes everyday teaching Gabriel the alphabet

Personal

4. Finish reading The Referral Engine

5. Drink 8 cups of water a day

6. Start reading A Deeper Kind of Calm

Home Management

7. Bake Chocolate Banana Bread
We really like this bread check out my review here.

8. 15 Minute DeClutter in a different room everyday
This was awesome I did take the time one of the days to document my efforts. Check it out here.

9. Make a menu

10. Start making The Squidge Cloth – dish cloth
      This is my new favorite dish cloth pattern. I love the way it looks and how square it is. It is very neat and feels very nice.

I am so glad I made a list of weekly goals to help me keep on track. Although I didn’t get everything done I got a lot more done thanks to my list.

This weeks goals:

Family/ Mothering

1. Get 2-3% Done on kids school
2. Listen to an Audio book everyday with kids

Personal

3. Drink 8 glasses of Water everyday
4. Read A Deeper Kind of Calm
5. Start working out and work out at least 3 times

Home Management

6. Make $10 online to go towards Debt/fixing house
7. 15 minute DeClutter (this worked very well last week)
8. Make a Menu
9. Learn to make Scrubbie for dishes

My Weekly Goals

I have been reading Money Saving Mom’s blog for quiet some time and I am encouraged by her blog to set some goals.  So I am starting this huge task of making weekly goals. I am hoping to finish all of them but of course would be thrilled if I got at least half lol.

Family/ Mothering

1. Get 2-3 % of school done For Caleb and Kathryn

2. Listen to an audio book every day

3. Spend 5 minutes everyday teaching Gabriel the alphabet

Personal

4. Finish reading The Referral Engine

5. Drink 8 cups of water a day

6. Start reading A Deeper Kind of Calm

Home Management

7. Bake Chocolate Banana Bread

8. 15 Minute DeClutter in a different room everyday

9. Make a menu

10. Start making The Squidge Cloth – dish cloth