Heather's books

Sarah's Key
The Help
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Lightning Thief
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Notebook
Eat, Pray, Love
The Time Traveler's Wife
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Heather's favorite books »

Monday, November 28, 2011

My LOVE for reading...

A friend of mine asked me recently how I developed my love for reading. I thought my answer would make a great blog post. So here is my story.  I always remember loving to read, but the first "novels" I loved were from author Beverly Cleary and her Ramona books. I also loved Anastasia Krupnik books by Lois Lowry, I wanted to name my daughter, Anastasia, at the time. I actually did consider it when I was pregnant, but ended up naming her Alyssa. My all-time favorite childhood novel was "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret." by Judy Blume. I read it for the first time in 4th grade, but read it several time after that.
By the time I was in Jr. High, I was hooked on Virginia Andrews series, especially the Flowers in the Attic series. However I read all her series.  During that time, I also read a lot of Stephen King books. My favorite was The Stand.  I was not very adventurous at the time, I did not venture out and read what I didn’t know. For the most part, I only read Virginia Andrews and Stephen King. I did enjoy Go ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks and even some class assigned books including Rascal by Sterling North and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

In high school I stopped reading because of reading books for school, very active social life, etc. I just didn’t have the time or at least thought I didn’t have the time.  I didn't read again until I was 19/20 and had my daughter. It was right when Oprah Winfrey introduced her Book Club. I decided to give it another shot, remembering how much I used to love reading. I was still going to school, but had a lot more spare time because I wasn’t working and was home a lot with my daughter. Oprah’s first book selection was The End of the Ocean by Jacqueline Mitchard and I was instantly re-hooked on reading. I haven't stopped since then. I started just reading the Oprah monthly selections and at the time you could write letters on your feelings of the books to her.  Sometimes she offered prizes or invites to be part of the audience.  I wrote a few letters and received a response on my letter for the novel, The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton.  I received a call saying I had 2 tickets to a taping in January when the next book would be announced.

I was very excited and yes, I realized tickets are free to a taping, however I still had never gone or have gone since. It was different that I had two tickets reserved from me. I was living with my Aunt at the time and took her with me to the taping.  It was a lot of fun and something I will always remember. At the end of the taping her next selection was announced and everyone in the audience received a free copy of She Comes Undone by Wally Lamb.  I ABSOLUTELY loved the book and he is still one of my favorite authors. I have read every one was his books.

I read about a book a week, but will not read more than one book at a time.  I don’t know how people can do that. I will get the stories confused and really like to focus on the book I’m reading so I can get all the emotion and enjoy it.  I still have my favorite authors, but I read a much bigger variety now and will give anything a shot, if recommended to me.  My ALL-TIME favorite author is Carol Goodman. I picked up her first novel, The Lake of Dead Languages as a bargain book at Barnes and haven’t stopped reading her since.  My book club I was in a couple years ago even had a phone book discussion with her. We were able to discuss all the books she had published at that time since the majority of the members had read her. I HIGHER recommend her. My favorites are The Lake of Dead Languages and Arcadia Falls.  He husband is a poet and just recently wrote a novel. I haven’t had a chance to read it, but plan to do soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ONE PINK LINE by Dina Silver

Tiitle: One Pink Line
Author: Dina Silver
Genre: Chic Lit
# Pages: 259
ed: softcover
STARS: 3 out of 5

Why I read: I won off of www.goodreads.com
Time it took me to read: one day, but I was sick so it was basically all I did.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Pink-Line/235260919862358

Summary: This novel takes dual view of a college senior that discovers she is pregnant, just weeks before starting her new career and that of the child that results from the pregnancy. Switching between the stories and spanning generations, the characters learn a lot about themselves and each other.

This is Dina Silver's first novel and she is currently writing her next novel.

Review:  I  loved the overall story and saw that it was inspired by a true story. I am curious to know how much. Only because personally the story seems way to good to be real. Do Ethan's really exist? He was an amazing guy how he stuck by Sydney the whole time and even how his parents were so supportive. 

I loved it too because I am from the Chicago area (far North suburbs) and could relate to a lot of the areas in the book. I have always enjoyed that. The other reason is because I very much could relate to the story. I had my first and only child at 20 and was not married and not really in a relationship. I broke up with him after 2 weeks of dating him, got back together when I discovered I was PG, which didn't last long. He has not been in our life since she was 4 months old. I could relate to a lot of the story down to the denial Sydney faced and the groceries my mom dropped off at my house. I struggled for the first 10 years of her  life until I finally got a real job and could better support us. 

Now for the criticism...like I said some of it was too unbelievable for me and how could she not know you can't drink when pregnant. The first Bud light made sense I could see myself doing the same, but the continual drinking until her mom said something was annoying me. 

But the only reason I gave it 3 stars versus a higher rating was because it was way too predictable to me.


  I knew very early one that Ethan was her husband. Somewhat since her husband, Grace's dad's name was never mentioned - was that your intent or did you want the reader to be surprised they ended back together? I knew as soon as it was discovered that Ethan was not the father.

Other than that and the 2 misspellings (sorry but misspellings in published novels bother me ).I found the novel was a good uplifting novel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What volunteering can do for you

Once I started school to become a Librarian, I started applying for jobs within a library. All I have received was rejection letter after rejection letter. However, it wasn’t that unexpected. I was under-qualified for most positions. The ones that I “fit” perfectly were only part-time and paid $8/hour. Of course that would be great for a college student just starting out, but for a 36 year old with a family to raise and support that wasn’t going to cut it.
Most of my classmates already work in libraries and can bring “real life” experiences to discussions.   Not only due I want to contribute in the fashion, I would love to be in the field as soon as possible. My current career is wiping me out BIG time.  My first semester I had to interview a person in the field of Library Science that I was interested in for a research paper.  At the time, I wasn’t sure which path I was going to take, so I interviewed an Adult Reference Librarian at a local library. Her advice she gave me was to get a part-time job, volunteer, or join Friends of the Library to gain access. She said that would greatly improve chances of receiving employment because they want someone who has experience.
It took me a year to actually inquire about it, but I DID. I now volunteer at my community library about 2 Saturdays a month AND I joined the Friends of the Library. They meet almost once a month and run the bi-annual book club.  On my Saturdays, I primarily help weed through the children’s books to make room for all the new ones. Now this isn’t what I hope to do as a Librarian since there is no interaction with the patrons, but I learn the system and how the “back” of the library actually works and I LOVE IT.
Now, even more excited than this, I have only been volunteering for 3 mos and received an email from the library director and she wants me to lead a monthly book club and GET paid. Now it isn’t much, but it a start and something I can do while going to school, working full-time and raising my family. I went in and talked to her – I was able to help design the flyer, pick the books, and best of all I was able to help design the actually running of the club. Plus, she loved my ideas!!!
At the same time, I asked her if it was OK to use her on my resume as a reference. Her response, “Well, funny you should mention that!”,  she went on to tell me that she has a P/T employee leaving at the end of the year to go back to school. And would like to see if possible I get on board. Now before I get too excited this was just in discussion and nothing is officially on the table. I will probably (hopefully) hear more after Thanksgiving. Although, I did get a little inling from her that it’s not looking good now – another employee may pick up the hours.
This is NOT completely bad news..look at all 3 mos of volunteering has done for me – I’m learning my field, gaining references and friends, part-time book club leader, and already a possibility of a job at a library!!!

So my advice!!!  VOLUNTEER. Even if you are in a field you love…go after a hobby! Children in Need, pet shelters, abused adults, tutoring, whatever it may be. You may not be trying to gain employment, but the REWARDS are a benefit to all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learning to Read….

So I have a 5yr. old stepson (well, kind of – I live with my boyfriend and our 3 kids) who is in kindergarden.  Jacob barely knew all his letters of the alphabet and none of the sounds each letter made when he started.  Two weeks into kindergarden and a new daycare, he was learning his sounds and doing great.
I, for the most part, have been the one to put him to bed every night for the last two years. We have been reading every night. After learning his sounds, he now is the one to read to ME. It is a great accomplishment that I am very proud of – both him for learning and me for teaching.  Don’t get me wrong I still read to him because who doesn’t like to be read to, but almost every night he reads a book or two as well.
His first book was THE NEW HAT. Now primarily he had memorized it since when I showed him the same words in different books he did not know them, but he was definitely learning. He now can read several words. Our normal series is the GREAT books, Bob series.
Ok, a side note – I also have a 16 year old daughter, Alyssa, who I taught to read with the Bob books. They are a great reading tool. I absolutely love them and highly recommend them. A personal note, I have been dating my boyfriend since August 21, 2009. We both owned our own houses. My daughter has lived with me full-time her entire life and I was the typical single mom. He shared custody of his 3 kids (the oldest was 18 at time – I didn’t meet her for a year ½ into a relationship, but that is a different story for another time). Anyway, we started shopping for a house together only 4 months into our relationship. It took a long time and I was ok with that since we REALLY were in a new relationship. However, we did end up buying a house together 3 months before our year anniversary. So now together, we only 3 houses with our individual’s houses being rented out.
At the same time, my boyfriend was trying to get primary custody of his 3 year old son, which after not much of a fight he received it. They still shared equal time with Jacob until he needed to start kindergarden. He now lives with us Monday through Friday and sees his mom on most weekends, but not every one.  His 11 year old daughter would also need to switch schools – her mom moved just 2 months before us – in with her boyfriend as well. So Lauryn had a lot of changes going on too. They visited both schools and both parents were fighting for her to live with them. Her mom had signed her up for school in her town, but 3 days before school was to start Lauryn decided to finally speak up and say she didn’t want to live with her mom and wanted to go to the school where we now live. So we have my daughter, his daughter and son living with us full-time (plus 2 cats and a dog)!!!
Now back to the reading – SO Jacob is now on his 5th Bob book and doing great and much to my great satisfaction he LOVES to read and is disappointed if on the few occasions we don’t have time usually due to being out too late. He will usually point out words he knows even in the books I read to him. I don’t necessary like that or think it is beneficial because when he is reading every 5th word or so it makes it difficult to follow the story, but again he loves it.
Another great learning to read too is the memory game with words of course. We have to find the matching words and he has to read every card that gets turned over. I always put the words he knows plus a few new ones in to challenge him. This is a great tool because he actually learns the words without them being in the context of a book (to avoid the memorization of the story).
It is a great feeling to share the love of reading with a 5 year old and every day see more progress!!! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CPA turned Librarian

Or at least that is my goal I’m working towards and this is my journey through it…follow it with you wish J
I knew I wanted to be an accountant since Sophomore year in high school when we received these little packets which were to represent a company and we had to record on the hypothetically transactions and then create the financial statements. I LOVED it. I wore blinders through the rest of my high school years and college. I made the mistake of never even considering any other career.
I became the typical nerdy accountant even before finishing high school. Although I do not regret those decisions to this day and am proud on my accomplishments. My senior year I finished 7th in Nationals (in San Antonio, Texas) for the Business Professionals of America.  However, I missed both Junior and Senior prom due to the competitions. Senior year I started my college career ahead of time, by taking community college for Accounting classes my high school didn’t offer.
Like I said, I do not regret these decisions. My only regret was NEVER looking at any other possible career path.
I have been an accountant/CPA for the past 12 ½ years ago for a great Int’l manufacturing company, however I have not enjoyed my job for about the past 5 1/2 years. Plus, the only reason I was happy for 7 years was because of a promotion to the Corporate office. After 5 years I was done!!
O.K.  Now to the exciting part, I decided if I was to change careers I was making sure I would TRULY enjoy it. So about 3 years ago, I began thinking and researching what I wanted to be when I grow up. At first I thought an editor, but the only place to get a good job was in Chicago and being a single mom I didn’t want to be that far from home in case something should happen or the long hours. Plus, it is hard to get into and I would end up reading a lot of books (yeah) that I was not really interested in (yuck!).
I thought about just doing magazine book reviews and keeping my full-time job, but sent numerous emails and received no responses and really was becoming to HATE my job – all aspects – so I continued to ponder my choices.
I don’t remember exactly when and how the light bulb turned on, but it did about 3 years ago….I wanted to be a librarian. I love reading, I love researching and I would love to assist others in recommendations and research…and I already knew I wanted to do something with books and reading.
Now I had to just figure out how to go about it….what was needed, how to afford it, and if it was even a possible.  So I again started researching. Found out I would need a Master’s degree – 2 more years of college full-time. Of course I couldn’t go full-time as I still needed to work and going away to school wasn’t an option, so researching again….I found several colleges that offered on-line classes for a Master’s in Information and Library Science, however not quite as many that allowed you to earn the entire degree on-line. However, more research led me to a website that listed all universities that offered complete Master’s degree for SOIS on-line. I also had to verify that they were great accredited college, not those cheesy on-line schools.
After more research, I decided on University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee for several reasons.
-         It was close enough if I choose to visit for any reason
-         Was a reputable university
-         Did not require any entry exams
-         And as sad as it is, no long entry essays

Now, I had to get accepted and see how to afford it financial. This all is pretty boring, but was completed in the End of Spring ’09. I was going to try and get started that summer as I was so excited!!! However, that didn’t work out since financial aid worked differently for summer  session.  So Fall ’10 here I come!!