Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Dropped Third Strike (+ Interview with the author!)

So you may recall that recently, I've participated in some reveal activities for my blog friend Micah's book Dropped Third Strike:

Hey!  I Know a Real Author! (Cover reveal)
New Book Release (On the day the book released)

I got an Amazon gift card as an end of the year school gift from a student, so I put that baby right to work to order my copy of Dropped Third Strike.  I read through it pretty quickly, and really enjoyed it.  I gave it 4 Stars on, and I left out a review there so I could include it here first.

I really enjoyed Dropped Third Strike!  Even though I really hate don't like baseball (Sorry, Micah!), I still really enjoyed the plot of the story and Micah's characters.  I really liked both her male and female main characters.  Reid and Kate were definitely intriguing characters, and I wanted to keep reading to find out how things worked out for each of them in the end.  Kate irritated me sometimes because I felt like she was often being highly irrational, but later in the book she reveals something that made me think maybe she wasn't so irrational after all!

While the book has a lot of baseball information in it, (it takes place in a baseball setting, after all), I didn't find it to be distracting, and I don't think it took away anything from the story line.  The story really revolves around baseball as well as romance and relationships.  If you're looking for an enjoyable summer read, I highly recommend this one!


When I ordered my copy of the book, I emailed Micah to ask if she'd be interested in answering some interview questions for my blog post.  Here's our exchange:

Becky: What made you want to become a writer?
Micah: I don't know if there was a set moment when I decided to become a writer. I've always just enjoyed writing and telling stories. My mom tells me that even before I could write, I would tell her stories. In middle school and high school, I mostly wrote poems. I ventured into some fan fiction in late high school and throughout college. Eventually, I began writing romance fiction.

Becky: I have read two of your books.  How many books have you written so far?  Do you have a favorite?
Micah: I have written a total of five books. Four have been self-published -- You'll Never KnowA Promise Worth Breaking,Riffs of Regret, & Dropped Third Strike.  The fifth one, Behind in the Count, is part of the same series as Dropped Third Strike. It wouldn't be fair of me to pick a favorite, and I love each of them for different reasons. I have to say, however, that I'm very fond of Derek, my main character in Behind in the Count. It's very unfair to my other characters how much I adore him.
Becky: After reading, Dropped Third Strike, I can definitely say that I'm excited to learn more about Derek in Behind the Count.  I really liked what we got of his character in the first book!

Becky: How do you get your inspiration for writing?
Micah: Sometimes the stories have been swimming in my head -- Dropped third Strike is a good example of this. I thought about that story and what I wanted from it for a long time. Other times, they just evolve as I go -- Riffs of Regretcomes to mind here. I opened the document with only the idea of four people road tripping to a music festival. From there, it took on a life of its own.

Becky: Can you describe your writing process?
Micah: I'm a sequential writing. I start at the beginning and write straight through to the end. I don't diagram the story at all or plot it out ahead of time. I typically need music on in the background. Music-related shows and movies work as well. I've found word sprints really help me. I set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes at a time and just write write write until the time ends. I take a five to 10 minute break and then do it over again. The key to first drafts is just getting the words on the screen. I can go back and make it better during the re-write and editing process.

Becky: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Micah: I enjoy getting to know my characters. I try to make them as realistic as possible with strengths and flaws. Some of them are based on real people I know. And I think it's safe to say there's a little of me in every character.
Becky: I agree with that!  While I only "know" you via blogging, what I do know about you really comes across in your main characters.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: How to Raise and Adult

Seriously, this review couldn't wait until my monthly check in.  I'll be mentioning it in my line up for June, of course, but I loved this book so much, I felt that it needed its own post so I can go into detail about my thoughts!

I first heard about this book one morning while I was getting ready for work and had CBS This Morning playing in the background.  The author was on the show discussing the book, and I was captivated.  While I'm not a parent (yet), I am an educator (as you all are obviously aware), and many of the things Lythcott-Haims described are things that I encounter in my interactions with both students and parents.

The book focuses on the issues of over parenting that Millenials have experienced and continue to use with their own children.  The largest area of this focus in the book is how parents direct their kids' paths to choose the most prestigious colleges and their future careers.  To be clear, Millenials are people born between 1980 and 2000, of which, I am supposedly one.  This is probably the main point that I struggled/disagreed with throughout the book.  While Lythcott-Haims obviously doesn't say that ALL Millenials experienced this type of parenting, it does feel that way at times.  I feel that my upbringing was more like Generation X.  I'm not sure if this over parenting occurred in certain regions/areas of the country, more affluent communities, or if I was just fortunate.  But in truth, that's the only thing that I didn't like about the book.

One of the first parts of the book that struck me was very close to the beginning in which the author discusses how the problems today's children have are thanks, in part, to the self-esteem movement.  She refers to Amanda Ripley's book The Smartest Kids in the World which discusses how this movement  has become "an inhibitor of academic progress and a contributor to America's poor ranking on international standardized tests.  In the 1980s, 'American parents and teachers had been bombarded by claims that children's self-esteem need to be protected from competition (and reality) in order for them to succeed.'" (p. 23)  I was literally nodding my head so hard, and muttering, "Yes!" as I read.

The immediate next section of the book talked about the overuse of the "Bully Label."  I could have shouted from the rooftops as I read this section.  While bullying is and always has been a problem in schools, one administrator Lythcott-Haims interviewed stated that he hadn't experience and increase in bullying in his 25 years at the school.  I've always tried to teach my students what bullying actually is.  Someone saying something mean to you one time, does not make them a bully.  Everyone has a bad day, and sometimes we say or do mean things.  Parents today immediately want to label another child a bully because of this.  (Not to mention that they want teachers to see EVERYTHING that happens every minute of the day, but that's an entirely different post...)

The author also discussed parental over involvement with their children's homework. You may be surprised, but in my 10 years of teaching, I have had many instances where a child has handed in homework that was clearly done by a parent (I've taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade).  I do encourage my students to seek help from their parents if they need it, and I do encourage parents to review homework with their child but not to actually DO it.  They would rather their child hand in the homework so as not to lose a participation point or get a 0 than to let their child accept the consequences for not having it done.

The book also has chapters with tips for helping your child to become independent adults.  I appreciated this from both the perspective of an educator and a (hopefully!) future parent.  Chapter 14 is titled "Teach Life Skills" and offers life skills children should have at appropriate ages.  Chapter 15, "Teach them How to Think" gives sample conversations to have with children of different ages to expand their thinking to the critical thinking level.  The next chapter provides examples of how you can prepare your children for hard work by having them help and contribute to the runnings of your household.  All of these sections are dog-eared in my copy of the book for future reference!

Another major issue that struck me in this book is that today's parents are afraid to let bad things happen to their children.  Of course, no one wants their child to be hurt (either physically or emotionally), but sometimes hurt, rejection, and disappointment are a part of life.  If they don't experience these things in childhood, how will they be able to deal with them in the real world?  A few examples of bad things that we should let happen to our kids are "not being invited to a birthday party,...being blamed for something he didn't do,...coming in last at something,...being hit by another kid." (p. 239)  There are quite a few more on this list, but they are all things that happen IN REAL LIFE.

The book talked about students who turned to drugs and alcohol because they were so depressed with their parents' over involvement in their lives.  Parents who planned out their entire path by doing everything for them and choosing their college and their major.....

I could seriously go on and on!

Truthfully, I feel like there is so much more that I could say about this book, but this post is already extremely long.

If you are a teacher, much of this book pertains to us...even if you don't have children of your own yet.  The end of the book was much more centered on how to stop forcing your child to go to an elite college, but it was all still wise advice.

If you're not a teacher, but you ARE a parent, this book is also for you.  If I could, I would force every parent in the country to read this book upon the birth of their first child.  It can truthfully make a difference.

Children need to be taught how to think for themselves and to become productive members of society.  Julie Lythcott-Haims does an excellent job of describing how to do that while still being a loving and supportive parent!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Teacher Thoughts: Summer Vacation

I know that based on the title of this post you might be thinking a few things about teachers and our summer vacation:

1) Teachers are SO lucky to get their entire summer off!
2) That [insert mean word of choice]!  It's not fair that she has a whole summer off.
3) I'm so jealous.  I wish I could have a summer off.
4) Teachers don't deserve to have all of that time off.

Maybe you aren't thinking any of those.  But still, we teachers often take a lot of flak for the blessing that we call June, July, and August.


Maybe I can help to clear up some misconceptions about teachers and summer vacation.  (Or at least, what summer vacation is like for me.)

On summer vacation, I...

...get to sleep in more often.  I am not a morning person.  Getting up at 6:00 A.M. (sometimes earlier) is NOT my idea of a good time.  Being able to sleep until at least 7 makes my life outlook much sunnier (literally AND figuratively).

via more manual labor.  I can actually keep up with the house work: laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.  That I use my job as an excuse to avoid 9 months out of the year.  :-p  Also, we are working on our house (mostly outside right now to prep for new siding) so I am often up early (see above) helping Scott outside.  I also am often responsible for mowing the lawn since Scott is usually busy working.  Having to cut the grass makes me feel irrationally irritated because I absolutely HATE it.

...recuperate from the school year.
  No, teaching is not a physically demanding job.  But if you aren't a teacher (or if you don't work in the school system in some capacity), you may not fully understand the demands placed upon teachers today.  (You may want to look back at my past posts about teaching.)  But between lesson planning and actual teaching, there are many other things I am responsible for during the school day/year.  Not to mention that teaching takes an emotional toll on you.  When you care about your students, you worry about them.  It comes with the territory.


...obsess about the coming school year.  I love, love, love getting ready for the upcoming school year.  I love getting my classroom ready, buying school supplies, and making plans for how I'm going to approach teaching during the coming year.  I am always trying to better myself and to make things work better for my students.  I want to do my best to help them learn the most during the school year.  That takes time and planning.  Ideas pop into my head at random times, and it often leads me to have back to school nightmares.  Lately, though, my school nightmares have all been featuring people and students that I encountered during the school year that just ended, so I'm not having the "new year" nightmares yet.


...have more time to spend with my husband, family, and friends.  It's so nice to have more freedom (aka time) to make plans to do things with people I care about.  I don't feel like hiding in my house avoiding the world because I'm so exhausted.

...complete projects that I've been putting off until now.  I always have crafting ideas or things I want to organize, donate, sell, etc.  Summer time gives me the time to do all of this!  I just listed about 20 books/textbooks on Amazon recently.  It's so nice to have the time to package them and drop them off at the post office THE DAY that someone buys them, rather than having to wait until I have time.

...can read more!!  I try to devour as many books during June, July, and August as I can because it's so much harder to find time to read during the school year.

...RELAX.  I'm not one of those people who struggles with relaxing and doing nothing....even during the school year.  But summer break gives me time to get things done AND relax without feeling guilty about it.

So yes, summer break is a definite perk of being a teacher.  Many people criticize us for this, but keep in mind that many teachers DO work other jobs during the summer simply because they couldn't make ends meet without doing so.  Some teachers get the joy of spending their time off with their kids!  I truly couldn't "do" teaching year-round.  I love it, but it's stressful and exhausting at times.  Summer is my time to rest, rejuvenate, and become refreshed for the school year ahead.

Teachers, what do YOU do on your summer vacation?

Non-teachers, what would YOU do if you had the whole summer off?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Blogging for Books! In a Different Key: The Story of Autism

As you all know (if you still stick around this space...), I usually post a book review each month.  BUT sometimes, I get a book from, and I write a special post to review that book.

Way back in January, I requested the book In a Different Key: The Story of Autism.  I didn't have a chance to pick it up to read until the end of April, and I just finished it on June 6th.

Yes, it took me that long to read.

     Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.  
     It is the story of women like Ruth Sullivan, who rebelled against a medical establishment that blamed cold and rejecting “refrigerator mothers” for causing autism; and of fathers who pushed scientists to dig harder for treatments. Many others played starring roles too: doctors like Leo Kanner, who pioneered our understanding of autism; lawyers like Tom Gilhool, who took the families’ battle for education to the courtroom; scientists who sparred over how to treat autism; and those with autism, like Temple Grandin, Alex Plank, and Ari Ne’eman, who explained their inner worlds and championed the philosophy of neurodiversity. 
     This is also a story of fierce controversies—from the question of whether there is truly an autism “epidemic,” and whether vaccines played a part in it; to scandals involving “facilitated communication,” one of many treatments that have proved to be blind alleys; to stark disagreements about whether scientists should pursue a cure for autism. There are dark turns too: we learn about experimenters feeding LSD to children with autism, or shocking them with electricity to change their behavior; and the authors reveal compelling evidence that Hans Asperger, discoverer of the syndrome named after him, participated in the Nazi program that consigned disabled children to death.
     By turns intimate and panoramic, In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability.

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book took me forever to read.

Sure, I started reading it at a busy time of year for a teacher, but often, I really just didn't want to even pick it up. I added it to my "want to read list" because the synopsis made it sound extremely interesting, and at first, I thought so. I actually read a good chunk of this book while sitting in a doctor's office for a few hours getting allergy testing done. I even jotted down a few notes and stuck them in the pages where the thoughts struck me!

But then, I started to just dread reading it. And then, out of sheer stubbornness, I would pick it up just to BE. DONE. ALREADY.

Yes, I'm still giving it 3 stars. It IS nonfiction after all, so it's not necessarily supposed to be an easy read. If this were fiction, I would give 2.

So what did I like? We'll head back to the couple of notes I wrote down while reading it.

At the very beginning of the book, the authors discuss words that were once used to describe mental illness. These words were, at that time, essentially clinical diagnoses. Today, these words are very "un-PC" slang terms that most decent human beings would never use to describe people with mental illness or disabilities. Words like, "...'ignoramus,'...'maniac,' 'lunatic,'...and 'spastic'..." are among them. I was just stunned that these words which are now used as insults in our society were being used in clinical terms.

Something else I learned was that many psychiatrists and others believed that autism was caused by mothers not loving their children enough. Some of the original treatments for autism, included supports for the child AND the mother. The mother would need to go to counseling sessions in the belief that helping her to love her child more would "cure" his/her autism. Fortunately, this theory was eventually put to rest as it was proven to be (basically) ridiculous.

I did enjoy this book at times for the little nuggets of information that I gained through reading. However, overall, the book just became tedious. There is a lot of history with regards to autism, and at times, it wasn't interesting to read about. With a history so long, many people are involved in the research and activism regarding autism, and at times, it was hard to keep track of who's who!

At the end of the book, the story comes back around to Donald Triplett, the first person diagnosed with autism. I enjoyed that the book did come full circle and end with the person with whom it began.

While I didn't love reading this book, I do feel that I gained a lot of information and insight into autism that I didn't know before. I would probably recommend it to others who work with people who have autism, but it's definitely not a book to sit down and read for fun.

I received this book for free from for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Book Release!!

A little over a week ago, I was honored to participate in the cover reveal for my friend Micah's new book, Dropped Third Strike.

Today, I am joining in with Micah and other bloggers to celebrate the RELEASE of this book!


Kate Marks is hitting it out of the park as general manager of the Portland Pioneers. Her childhood friend Reid Benjamin is struggling to hit anything at all and, as a result, has suddenly found himself out of a job. When Kate hires him as hitting coach for the Pioneers, she's determined to keep everything strictly professional, but she has underestimated Reid's charm. His proximity has forced her to face a past she would rather forget. Reid wants another chance, but Kate isn't convinced he's changed his game.

Information about the Book
Title: Dropped Third Strike (A Portland Pioneers Novel #1)
Author: Micah Chaplin
Release Date: 6th June (TODAY!!)
Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: Ebook


As her brisk walk turned into a slow jog, Kate plugged her headphones into the treadmill’s console and looked up at the television in front of her machine. Her feet pounded against the belt as the one-liners and laughter of The Office chased work concerns from Kate’s mind. She didn’t watch much TV, but one of the guys she briefly dated had mentioned this show. While the relationship hadn’t worked out, his sense of humor had been one of his most endearing qualities, so Kate checked it out one night. She loved it immediately, and since the episodes were only 30 minutes long, Kate found it easy to catch up and keep up.
When the credits rolled, Kate began flipping through the channels. Unable to find anything else she could get into, she finally stopped it on the MLB Network, where they were discussing some of the latest transactions. It might have been a little too work-related for what was supposed to be off-time, but Kate couldn’t resist. Even before she’d entered the baseball industry as a professional, she’d had a hunger for constant information on the sport and the business behind it. As a GM now, she was always interested to see what her colleagues were doing. Most of the topics were old news to her, as she’d received calls and e-mails about various transactions and happenings all day. However, there was one announcement that nearly made her trip on the treadmill.
“After designating him for assignment early last week, the Mets have released outfielder Reid Benjamin. A one-time top prospect, Benjamin’s stock has been steadily dropping since his debut. He hit .250 with 30 walks and 120 strikeouts in his second season as the starting centerfielder after signing a five-year contract worth $100 million. Despite tallying 89 RBI, 20 home runs, and 40 doubles last year, he has not been able to put together a full season without injury or incident. His troubles off the field have also undoubtedly influenced New York’s decision. In the last few years, Benjamin has been arrested a handful of times on charges ranging from public intoxication to disorderly conduct. Just two weeks ago, he was kicked out of a popular nightclub after punching a bouncer. That appears to have been the final straw for the Mets. Benjamin now becomes a free agent. Between the size of his contract, his offensive troubles, and the late off-season nature of his release, finding work will be quite the scramble for him.”
Kate’s gait stuttered a bit as the segment started. Fortunately, she was able to stop the treadmill and find the side rails with her feet before looking like a klutz in the near-empty gym. For several long moments after the TV had gone to commercial, Kate’s gaze remained on the screen, letting the name resonate through her brain – Reid Benjamin.
From a professional standpoint, Kate was not all that surprised by the news of Reid’s release. His off-field headlines combined with his declining value and a saturated outfielder market would likely leave Reid without a job this season. She actually felt a bit sorry for him, and that sympathy annoyed her. Why should she feel sorry for Reid? He certainly hadn’t done anything to deserve it.
Kate knew Reid well – far better than any of those scouts, managers, or GMs who had been drooling over him for years. Reid also knew her quite well – in ways she preferred not to think about. Much to her chagrin, they occasionally snuck up on her. Usually on nights when she let her mind wander a little too far into the past.
This is not going to be one of those nights.
She unplugged her headphones and went over to the free weights section of the facility. For the next hour, Kate drove Reid Benjamin from her mind with every lunge, squat, and curl. After she stretched and cooled down, she showered and headed home for a quick late dinner and bed.

Kate’s reprieve from hearing Reid Benjamin’s name didn’t last long. Even though she was at her office by the ungodly hour of six, she already had three voicemails mentioning his name. The last one was from the team’s owner. She shook her head and took a sip of her coffee as she picked up the phone to dial his number and set him straight.
“Please tell me you’ve already set up an interview with Benjamin,” Mr. Scott blurted out, almost before Kate could even say “hello.”
“I haven’t,” Kate managed to answer.
“And why not?” Mr. Scott demanded. “He would be perfect.”
“For what?” Kate asked. “You’re aware of his history, right? On and off the field, he’s a huge liability. I wouldn’t sign him as a player, and I definitely don’t want him coaching and mentoring. Even if he wasn’t such a bad influence, he has no experience.”
“Clearly, you are the one who has not looked at his résumé,” the owner replied. “During the off-seasons, he went to his alma mater and helped fine-tune the mechanics of many players there. Most of them have been or will be drafted.”
“Then why was he so horrible at the plate?” Kate asked.
“You know what they say – those who can’t do teach,” Mr. Scott said. “Interview and sign him. Fan Fest is in two days. I want to make the announcement then.”
“OK, I’ll interview him, but I can’t guarantee I’ll hire him,” Kate said.
In her mind, the possibility was very doubtful. Her personal bias against Reid Benjamin aside, she could not imagine him as a proper fit for the Pioneers – professionally or otherwise. Neither his batting stats nor his rap sheet inspired her. Besides, who was to say he would be interested in a coaching position? Regardless, the owner had given her an order. She had to carry it through. Honestly, it wasn’t as though she had many other options. The other candidates had failed to impress her. Reid was likely to follow suit, but at the owner’s command, she had to at least interview him.
Now she needed to figure out how to get in touch with Reid. His information was still in her phone contact list, but she wasn’t sure the number still worked. Years had passed since she’d even attempted to use it. Trying to shake that memory, she turned on her computer and opened her e-mail. The answer was in her inbox. More than one of the replies to her plea for help had suggested Reid and included his contact information. Some of them were time stamped before the evening announcement, so either they had insider information or they’d seen the writing on the wall. Interestingly enough, his number was still the same as it had been five years earlier. She took a deep breath and picked up the phone, dialing the number slowly.
When he answered sounding sleepy, Kate inhaled quickly. Knowing how his voice had once affected her – particularly when laced with the sexy, barely awake tone it carried now – why hadn’t she rehearsed something to say?
Fortunately, “Professional Kate” mode kicked in.
“Reid Benjamin?” she asked in a cool, even manner.
“Yeah,” he mumbled. “Who is this?”
He didn’t recognize her voice. Given their history and the time that had lapsed since their last conversation, this shouldn’t have shocked her or even bothered her. But it did. She felt a distinct and familiar twinge of pain. Somehow, she found a way to push on without sounding affected.
“Kate Marks, general manager of the Portland Pioneers,” she said. “I’d like to talk to you about the hitting coach position in our organization.”
There was a silent pause on the other end, and she wondered what was going through his head. Then she heard a rustle of fabric, which suggested he was sitting up or getting out of bed. The mental picture rattled her as much as his voice had. She closed her eyes, but that only made the image more vivid. She snapped them open and turned to look out the window, nearly pulling the phone off the desk in the process. She scurried to catch it and reposition it smoothly. She wondered if he had heard any of the clatter in his silence.
“Sorry, you woke me up,” Reid said finally. “Can you repeat that?”
Kate repeated what she had said, though she could hear a slight tremor in her voice that hadn’t previously been there. She hoped he didn’t notice it. The odds were in her favor though as Reid had never been particularly observant where she was concerned.
“Oh,” Reid said. “I guess the good news of my release traveled fast.”
She heard a catch in his voice. She couldn’t tell if it was hurt or annoyance, maybe a combination of both. Kate, in turn, felt a little bad for her negative thoughts about him.
“Yeah, I heard it last night,” Kate admitted. “I know it’s probably too soon for me to be calling you about this opening, but I felt like I needed to jump on you before someone else did.”
Kate immediately regretted her choice of words, especially when she heard him chuckle. Apparently, he heard the unintended innuendo as well.
“Well, you might be a bit late for that,” he said in a low voice, still clearly amused. “Except in terms of employment; I’m still open on that front. I could fly out next week.”
“Actually, I’d like to talk to you sooner than that,” Kate said. “I could make arrangements for you to be here this afternoon. We would cover the costs, of course.”
“This afternoon?” Reid asked. “Wow…you must really be desperate. Well, OK, but I can handle the costs. As you know, I made a pretty good living while I was employed. I’ll call the airline and get back to you with my ETA. What was your name again?”
Kate rolled her eyes and gave him her name again along with her number.

As he hung up the phone, Reid smiled to himself. He hadn’t heard that voice in a long time, but he’d recognized it instantly.  He’d never heard the woman speak in such a business-like tone – but he still knew who was on the other end of the line before she identified herself. Despite the years that had passed and the substances he’d ingested in the interim, Reid had never managed to erase Kate Marks from his memory, even though he preferred to have her believe that was the case. He would have preferred that to be the case too, but it hadn’t happened. Clearly. His reaction to hearing her voice on the phone was unsettling, to say the least. And now he would have to face her in a matter of hours.

Author Information

Micah K. Chaplin is an Iowa girl with a passion for writing, live music and Texas Rangers baseball. Sometimes the three loves combine.  She earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communication from Buena Vista University in 2002. Micah published her first novel in 2003.

I'm so excited to read Dropped Third Strike!  If you are looking for something new to add to your summer reading list, I highly recommend that you hop on over to Amazon to get your hands on Dropped Third Strike today!  :)

Let me know if you give it ago, and be sure to give Micah a shout out on social media, too!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May Books

Hate That Cat (Jack, #2)Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was in college, the professor of my Children's Lit class read Love that Dog to us. I really thought it was a cute book. My first year of teaching 6th grade, I actually read that book to my class as part of our poetry unit.

When I saw this in a recent Scholastic book order, I had to nab it for my classroom library, and of course I had to read it! Love that Cat is just as charming as the original! Jack is an adorable, likable character! I definitely enjoyed this book as much as the first!

The Taming of the QueenThe Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always, Philippa Gregory sucks me into the drama that was the court of Henry VIII. I really loved reading (well, listening since I purchased this on Audible) more about Katherine Parr, since, as King Henry's last wife, I feel I've read the least about her!

Katherine was different from Henry's other wives in so many ways, but I really admire her bravery in entering into a marriage with a many who was essentially a wife killer!

If you enjoy Historical Fiction and especially books about the Tudor court, I definitely recommend this one!

I am currently one book behind schedule for this year's Goodreads challenge.  I'm bummed because last year I was always ahead!  Alas, summer is coming, and I will make up for it then!!

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