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Book Review – Wonder

Wonder was a very quick read, but still, I would recommend it. I hope my daughter reads it when she’s in Middle School, and I hope she’s a Summer and not a Julian. 

The past few years I’ve tried to read at least two books per month (24 books in a year). 2018 is off to a great start as I finished this gem, my second book of the year, within the first week of the year. I don’t always read this much, but when I have the time, reading is what I generally want to be doing.

Book 2
Wonder
by RJ Palacio

Genre:
Children’s Literature – Fiction

Published:
February 2012

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Wonder is about a boy, August Pullman, who was born with a “facial difference” and is infiltrated into a prep school in the 5th grade after being homeschooled for all of his previous schooling. The book spans the length of a school year, and shares August’s experience throughout that year from various character’s perspectives. He’s new, he’s “different” and he’s in the 5th grade… I think you get the general idea.

Favorite Quote:

If you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you the face of God.

― RJ Palacia, Wonder

Awards:
The New York Times Best Seller list

Texas Bluebonnet Award master list.
2014 Maine Student Book Award
Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award
2015 Mark Twain Award
Hawaii’s 2015 Nene Award

Junior Young Reader’s Choice Award for 2015
In Illinois, it won both the Bluestem and Caudill Awards in 2014

Pages:
316

My Overall Rating:
3 – Over the course of the book, I felt there wasn’t a significant plot, but in the end, I gained an appreciation for the writing style and was satisfied with it as a whole. I want to give this book a higher rating, because it really was a great read and such a feel good book (I was literally smiling as I read the end). What holds me back from rating it higher is simply the fact that it’s very much a children’s novel. Wonder was a very quick read, but still, I would recommend it. I hope my daughter reads it when she’s in Middle School, and I hope she’s a Summer and not a Julian. 

Book Review – The Life She Was Given

In pregnancy, and life in general, one thing that has helped me immensely to get through is reading. While I will not be including the books I read throughout my pregnancy, I will share reviews of my 2018 reads. Here is the first on that list.

In pregnancy, and life in general, one thing that has helped me immensely to get through is reading. While I will not be including the books I read throughout my pregnancy, I will share reviews of my 2018 reads. Here is the first on that list.

Book 1:
The Life She Was Given
by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Genre:
Historical Fiction, Mystery

Published:
July 2017

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Life She Was Given is about two girls, Lilly and Julia. Lilly was born into unfortunate circumstances and kept from the public eye until being sold to the circus. She journeys from her own personal hell to a new sort of hell in… the life she was given.The author frames the book to make the reader beg for redemption for Lilly, and she gets it, but not at the predicted time. Several years later, the other girl, Julia, inherits the family estate and begins uncovering dirty secrets of her family’s.

Favorite Quote:

Then again, she didn’t like small talk either, so she was glad he wasn’t commenting on the weather or the landscape. Life was too big and too short and too important to talk about the lack of rain or the latest gossip. She wanted to know how people felt about themselves and one another, whether they were happy or sad. She wanted to know what made them feel loved and what hurt them to the core. She wanted to know about their past, how they got where they were, and their relationships with their mothers and fathers and siblings. She wanted to know if she was the only mixed-up person in the world who felt completely and utterly alone.”

― Ellen Marie Wiseman, The Life She Was Given

Awards:
A GREAT GROUP READS Selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month
GOODREADS Best of the Month

Pages:
356

My Overall Rating:
4 – I thought this book was very good. It had such a great plot with the perfect amount of both expected and unexpected turns. I found the point of redemption for the main character’s life to be unique. It managed to be a satisfying plot without the anticipated ending. There were just minor things that bothered me, like the beginning of each chapter being a recap of previous chapters, but as a whole, I would highly recommend it.

My Christmas Letter

What a year it has been. 2017 saw some of my most joy-filled moments walking hand-in-hand with some of my most horrifying experiences of my life. In 2017, everything changed.

Friends and family,

What a year it has been. 2017 saw some of my most joy-filled moments walking hand-in-hand with some of my most horrifying experiences of my life.

In 2017, everything changed.

I became a parent, which is what my year was almost 100% about. My rollercoaster to parenthood seemed to have fewer peaks and deeper valleys than most. Any excitement I experienced was quickly muffled by the reality of our situation, but in the end, my husband and I brought home a beautiful baby girl, the joy of our life and the thing we’ve most prayed for this year.

Not only did we add to our family, but I switched jobs. I left two non-profits I care deeply about in order to reorient our lives around our new little family. I began working part time from home, and spending my days off being mommy.

In 2017, we learned how to keep big secrets, how scary pregnancy can be, how valuable our friends and family are and how challenging parenthood is.

I have to take a moment to thank the people who rallied around us this year – the ones who prayed for us, the ones who brought us dinners, the ones who checked in on us, the ones who journeyed with us. I deeply believe you are the ones who carried us through. Many a people complimented us on our strength, but this was a year where we relied on others for our strength. So thank you for being strong.

This year was anything but easy, but as much as I’m glad it’s end is nearing, I’m also glad it happened. 2017 will forever be the year I became a mommy, and being a mommy is my new favorite thing to be.

Journey with me, here, in 2018, as I revisit the events of 2017, remembering and reflecting on each stage of our pregnancy and our first few steps into parenthood with a preemie.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Meet Mandi

I’ve been staring at my screen for probably 10 minutes trying to decide how to introduce myself. Here are the things that are the very core of me right now and some things that have, at some point, rang true about me.

I’m going to be honest, I went back to Why Things Are Like That in hopes I had written some sort of introduction there that I could reuse because I’ve been staring at my screen for probably 10 minutes trying to decide how to introduce myself.

Here’s the thing, though, 2017 was kind of a wash. So here I sit, at the end of an entire year that I was not allowed to be myself, and I don’t even know how to introduce myself. Here are the things that are the very core of me right now:

  1. I live in Michigan.
  2. I’m a Christian.
  3. I got married in September of 2014.
  4. I had a baby in June of 2017.

But you probably want to know more than that? Here are some things that have, at some point, rang true about me:

  1. I studied Communications at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  2. I like to be on time, organized and productive.
  3. I like to be active – biking, hiking, walking, cross country skiing.
  4. If I could be anything, it would be a writer. I love words, and grammar, and other nerdy things like syntax.
  5. I work part time from home for a non-profit, doing communications, marketing and IT.
  6. In my spare time, what I want to be doing is traveling, having new experiences and seeing new places.
  7. In my spare time, what I’m probably doing is trying to get my baby to giggle or reading.
  8. I have a dog.
  9. I was a cheerleader and a cheer coach and miss doing both dearly.
  10. I love the Olympic Games. Love them.

I’m sure you’ll learn more along the way in this next writing project – and maybe I will too as I learn how to be myself again!

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned. The beginning of the next project is near!

Drumroll Please

With fewer opportunities to write, I had to put a lot of thought into what my next project would be. I’m only laying the foundation of the project over here so far, so while this post is not the beginning of my next writing project, let it serve as the drumroll of what’s to come.

Friends, it’s been so long since I’ve written publicly, but it’s time to put my hat back in the ring.

With fewer opportunities to write, I needed a solid next project – one that would push me and give me good traction.  I’m only laying the foundation of the project over here so far, so while this post is not the beginning of my next writing project, let it serve as the drumroll of what’s to come.

For two and a half years, I blogged here -> Why Things Are Like That for fun, and fun, it was, but here’s my warning about this next project: it’s not fun. This next project is about growth, and growth is hard. Here are some thing you will find in this next project:

  • honesty
  • pain
  • deep thoughts
  • shallow thoughts

Here are some things you will not (most likely) find:

  • crazy traveling adventures
  • lavish recipes
  • latest fashion trends
  • pictures of my dog

I hope this helps you envision what’s to come. (wink)