Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Reading Fun

This summer, our family finally ventured over to the Leander Public Library and got library cards.  The kids and I also joined their summer reading program.  Kennedy logs her time in 20 minute intervals, and gets a prize every 2 hours.  After receiving all 5 prizes, she gets a raffle ticket for every hour read for a new set of "kid" prizes.  Harrison logs his time in 1 hour intervals, and gets a raffle ticket for every hour read for a variety of "teen" prizes.  I, too, am earning raffle tickets for the "adult" prizes, but my tickets are based on the number of books read instead of the amount of time spent reading.  So, I thought I would share our progress with you!

Book 1: She, Myself, and I by Whitney Gaskell

LOVED IT!  And, it's set in Austin...which was a unexpected surprise.

Here's a description of the book from
The Cassel sisters have little in common besides a pair of wacky parents and a maddening knack for eluding happily-ever-after endings. But when their lives require damage control, only a dose of sisterhood will do.

Paige, the oldest, is a go-getter divorce attorney who’s reeling from her own disastrously failed marriage–and the fact that her ex has suddenly come roaring out of the closet with a cute boyfriend in tow. Middle sister Sophie is having trouble adjusting to life as a wife and expectant mom. With her doubts on the rise along with her weight, she’s ogling every available baked good–and every available man–that crosses her path. And up-and-coming medical student Mickey has a racy new plan for her future that’s sure to shock her entire family. It includes a dangerously handsome, decidedly married chef…private cooking lessons…and spicy lingerie. 

To top it all off, the parents who dragged them through the Divorce from Hell years ago are acting like teenagers in love…with each other! One by one, Paige, Sophie, and Mickey are about to learn just how good it is to have a sisterly shoulder–or two–to lean on.

Book 2: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

WOW!  I was hooked from the first chapter!  Was so glad that the NBA Finals were on so I had an excuse to read it in two sittings...I could not put it down!

Here's a description of the book from
Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship.

But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy's fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

The smash-hit debut novel for every woman who has ever had a complicated love-hate friendship.

Book 3: Pushing 30 by Whitney Gaskell

This one took me awhile to get into, actually.  I was worried that I wasn't going to have much nice to say about it.  And then it got good....really good.

Here's a description of the book from
Ellie Winters is dependable and loyal and has a near-phobic aversion to conflict. But as her thirtieth birthday looms ever closer, she starts to feel like she’s lost the instruction manual to her life. She has just broken up with her boring boyfriend, despises her job, and is the last of her high school friends to remain single. Worse, her dysfunctional family is driving her nuts, and she’s somehow become enslaved to her demanding pet pug Sally, who she suspects is the reincarnation of Pol Pot.

One night, after a botched attempt to color her hair at home, Ellie rushes to the drugstore for emergency bleach, Sally in tow. Sally is accosted by a smitten canine admirer . . . but it’s the dog’s owner who captures Ellie’s attention. Television news anchor Ted Langston is witty, intriguing, and sexy. The only catch? He’s twice her age--and the only man on the planet who isn’t interested in dating a younger woman. And no one, from Ellie’s best friends to Ted’s ex-wife, wants to see them get together.

Book 4: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I had to see what all the hype was about!  It was like a car wreck - awful, but you couldn't take your eyes off it.  The writing was less than perfect, the sex scenes were a little too over the top for me, and the ending left me unsatisfied.  Guess now I'll have to finish the series... ;-)

Here's a description of the book from (like y'all need it...ha!):
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences. (My absolute favorite part of the description!!!)

Book 5: The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble

I really liked this one!  Now, I want to form a reading group of my own just like theirs (but maybe without all of the drama in their lives) and I want to read the 10 books they "read," too.

Here's a description of the book from

The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books.Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other's lives.

Inspired by a shared desire for conversation, a good book and a glass of wine-Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly, and Susan undergo startling revelations and transformations despite their differences in background, age and respective dilemmas.

What starts as a reading group gradually evolves into a forum where the women may express their views through the books they read and grow to become increasingly more open as the bonds of friendship cement.

In The Reading Group, Noble reveals the many complicated paths in life we all face as well as the power and importance of friendship.

Book 6: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

I fell in love with the characters was (almost too) easy (for me) to relate to the infertile mother and the daughter she adopted.  It is a beautiful book of heartbreak, self-discovery, and the importance of family.

Here's a description of the book from

Somer’s life is everything she imagined it would be—she’s newly married and has started her career as a physician in San Francisco—until she makes the devastating discovery she never will be able to have children.

The same year in India, a poor mother makes the heartbreaking choice to save her newborn daughter’s life by giving her away. It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life, and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back again.
Asha, adopted out of a Mumbai orphanage, is the child that binds the destinies of these two women. We follow both families, invisibly connected until Asha’s journey of self-discovery leads her back to India.

Compulsively readable and deeply touching, Secret Daughter is a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives, and the indelible power of love in all its many forms.

Book 7: 50 Shades Darker by E.L. James

I enjoyed this one much better than the first.  Once you start to understand Christian's story, he manages to find his way into your heart...much like he did Ana's.  The ending would have been perfect, except she doesn't stop where you want her to...she adds just enough more to guarantee that you will read book three.

Here's a description of the book from
Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

This book is intended for mature audiences.  (again, my favorite we need the disclaimer!)

Book 8: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I promised Maddie I would read her summer reading assignment with her.  I'm grateful she didn't pick Tale of Two Cities (sorry, Dickens, I'm not really a fan!), although I would have enjoyed re-reading The Princess Bride (she thought the first page was boring).  It took me the entire summer to read.  I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read it for pleasure instead of analyzing it as if I were a student...but it was still an extremely powerful piece of literature.

Here's a description of the book from
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

So, the kids read a little this summer, but gave up on documenting it for the library.  I put six tickets in the gift card raffle and two tickets in the Starbucks gift card raffle.  I will let y'all know if I win...but I'm not holding my breath. 

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