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Quality of Silence

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton is phenomenal. It is rare that I ever find a book (outside of Harry Potter) worthy of 5 stars, but this one fits the bill.

A little about the  book - The story follows Yasmin and her deaf daughter, Ruby, as they travel across Alaska in search of Matt, her husband (and Ruby's father). Matt is a wildlife photographer and was meant to meet his family at the airport to join up for the upcoming holiday. Unfortunately Matt doesn't show. The police are convinced he is dead. Yasmin is convinced he is alive. Who is correct? Yasmin is determined to prove she is right. The Quality of Silence follows her as she tries to uncover the truth.

I read this book in a day (during my readathon) and it was so wonderful. I was emotionally invested and completely interested from the get-go. I liked how thrilling the story was throughout, holding my attention during an all-day readathon (which as anyone knows, is difficult). Even with some plot points that seemed a bit obvious to me, I was still enthralled by the novel. Like I said, I don't give out 5 stars lightly.... there was just something about this story. I can't put my finger on it- but it did leave an impact on me.

Highly recommended book, that will make you want to binge watch reality TV about Alaska.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC I received this book via the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. 


The 24 Hour Readathon -- soon!

Whoa. Is it seriously time to start getting prepared for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon?? April 23rd, 2016 is the day... I put the readathon on my calendar as soon as the date is released and I try to plan around it so that I have an entirely free reading day.
This upcoming readathon, I am free (at this point!). We have no family plans or other engagements. It is our weekend with Madeline so knowing Bear, he will plan a full day of out-and-about fun with her (he does this for himself too when he is home during a readathon!).

I really don't have any plans for this one- I will make a stack of books and buy snacks, but I am planning to be low pressure again. Not setting goals of blog posts, interactions, books/pages read, etc makes me enjoy the readathon more, so I am sticking to that format!

So... who is all joining in the fun? Sign ups are open, so go mark your calendar and get joined up  in the fun! Hope to see you all around for the readathon!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Tales of a curly girl

I am a curly girl. I have naturally curly hair, that is a mile long. Throughout the years I have tried what feels like very product on the market that is made for curly hair. I've found products that I love, and have a pretty good regime down. Through the VoxBox program with Influenster, I received a new curly hair product - L'Oreal Cleansing Balms. As a curly girl, they sent me EverCurl #CleansingBalm to try. The Cleansing Balm is a 6+1 product, designed specifically for curls and made to be easy and quick. EverCurl is meant to cleanse, condition, treat, detangle, soften, and add shine. It is also sulfate free, which is incredibly important for healthy curls.

When I first opened the box, I was impressed by the product and skeptical at the same time. Obviously, I've heard this all before. I used the product alone first (no after shower product and care) and was seriously impressed. In the shower, I used 12 pumps (it suggest 8 - 10 and more depending on length) and was able to easily and efficiently get through my knots. I had just spent a few days at at a waterpark, so my hair was even  more knotty than usual, and I felt like the EverCurl got through it really well. I will be honest, I didn't like the smell. It is coconut mint... however, it felt so clean and treated, that I can totally get over the smell. And really, I am getting used to it.

First wash, no after care products
With frizz free after care product
After my first wash, my hair was frizzy once it dried. Like I said though, I didn't use product after. The second wash, I used my DevaCurl frizz free foam. Between the two, my hair was MAGIC. I was SO pleased with how beautiful my curls were and how simple it is to do my hair. Now I just use EverCurl and a frizz free after shower foam, instead of a shampoo, conditioner, leave in treatment, detangle spray, and foam.

I highly recommend this product for other curly girls out there. It is simple and effective. Especially if you are already a well versed curly girl (don't use towels!, don't touch your hair!, plop at night!, pineapple your wet bun!, etc..)
Seriously, I fell in love, hardcore.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received this product for free for testing purposes from Influenster and L'Oreal, in exchange for a fair and honest opinion. All conclusions and opinions are my own.

ps: If you think reviewing products is something you're interested, just use this link here to sign up with me at Influenster!


Coming Soon!!!! -- Rarity from the Hollow

Hey everyone! Today I am really excited to share with you a teaser for a book I will be reviewing soon!

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton is an important novel. It is "a children's story for adults". That alone is intriguing, right? How about the fact that author proceeds from the novel are donated? Yes, you read that right. Author proceeds from this novel are donated! Robert is donating his proceeds from the novel to child abuse prevention. That in itself is enough to make me purchase a novel - you all know how near and dear that topic is to me considering my field of work.

Now, without further ado- the details about Rarity from the Hollow:

About the book
Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn't mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

Author Info:
Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next -- never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a recently retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia (
Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Okay guys, can you see why I had to have this book?!! I can't wait to dig in and find out what happens with Lacy. I hope you guys find this inspiring and I encourage you to check out the book over on Amazon (find it here).

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Harry Potter in the Classroom

As many of you know, I purchased a thematic book unit of Harry Potter that was aligned to the Common Core for grades 5 - 8 and have been steadily working my way through the books with my classes. Overall, it has been a hit.

I had a few false starts because my class roster changed dramatically (and quickly) but have finally gotten in a groove with my current group. We have finished years 1 through 3 and are starting year 4, Goblet of Fire this week. The kids go through phases (as all kids do) and got a bit bored with Prisoner of Azkaban in the beginning. Once we got to the "big reveal" though, they were super interested and it got to the point where they were asking to continue reading (instead of one chapter at a time). We finished it last week and of course had our Harry Potter party to celebrate. We watched the  movie, enjoyed snacks, and had a sundae bar. The kids also turned in their final projects and completed a comprehension quiz. After the movie screening, they did a compare/contrast activity between the film and book.
Here's our party in pictures:
A few of the projects completed
At the end of each book they get a certificate for completing the book
Found this on Pinterest and printed it - the kids loved it. Here's the link to make your own
Our kitchen staff is amazing and set up this awesome sundae bar for the kids
The party was a hit, the kids made awesome final projects, and they did great on their final assessments. I am always so proud of the work and effort they put it!

So now, it is on to year 4. We have previewed the book and I've shown them the covers from around the world, including the many variations by Scholastic and Bloomsbury. They're excited for Goblet of Fire, but are a bit apprehensive due to the pure size of this one. It may not be one of my favorites in the series, but most people love it and I have no doubt that the class will soon realize it is one of their favorites because of all the Quidditch and the entertainment in the Triwizard Tournament.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow