Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Read a Book: After You by Jojo Moyes {Book Review}

This month has found me with my kindle during those late night baby feedings. As a result I have finished 6 books and started number 7! The only hard thing is putting the book down to care for the kids during the day. I get to engrossed in the story and NEED to find out what happens. Or in the case for this book, to involved in the characters and not finishing will drive me nuts.

The Story
Nothing like it's predecessor, Me Before You, which I absolutely loved. Instead this story follows our main character through the road of healing after the suicide of her charge from the first book. 

One can expect a person's world to fall apart after someone they love commits suicide. But to Louisa Clark, her fall apart is a deep depression. Almost to the extent of the reader developing an irritation in her actions, agitation toward her relationships she develops with others (how she handles those relationships), and a lack of pity and empathy for her situation. Majority of the book I was angry with the character, and in turn upset with the author. It was not at all what I had expected after the ending in Paris from the first book.

The introduction of Lily seemed to come way out from left field, as an attempt to keep the story going. Her selfish, argumentative, combative personality is tiresome. This character's mother only exacerbates the reader's frustration with Lily. 

I had a difficult time connecting with these characters, and in turn had a hard time feeling for the events which took place in the story. The only character I remotely enjoyed was Sam the paramedic, who was living his life; working, taking care of his nephew, and maintaining a 'farm', even after the death of his sister. To me he was real; he was relate-able. He makes sense to me. Despite what happens you keep living, keep doing what you need to do day-to-day. 

Besides my frustrations with the characters and it's affect on my appreciation of the events in the story, I fairly enjoyed it (once I got passed those things). Yes, your main character (Lou) is depressed. Is there any other way for her to behave? No. Her actions fit how the author set up her mentality. Lily is basically an abandoned teenager. Do I expect any better of her other than to combat adults? Not really. I knew 3rd-4th graders who acted in much the same way. It follows reality and I imagine the psychology of someone in a similar position. 

In the end...
The problem is resolved. Our main character overcomes her depression. Teenage Lily finds herself loved (her indiscretion taken care of - hilarious), and everyone moves on. Overall the ending made it satisfactory.

Throughout the book, it had some insightful moments in dealing with loss, healing and parenting.

My Rating
Over all, I rate this a 3/5 stars. But mostly because I got to a point where I needed to finish to see if/how things got resolved. Would I recommend it? no. If you've started reading it, go on ahead and finish. But honestly I don't think to much is missed if you don't read the book.

It did make me realize I need to develop some kind of rubric for scoring books. To teacher-ish of me? Probably, but I feel I need to keep things... hmmm... streamlined... accurate... consistent. Yes, consistency is needed. I'm thinking 5 categories for the 'out of' 5 star rating available on GoodReads. I'm an aesthetic reader, so I will miss things in the writing itself unless I have a hard time following the writing structure. I don't see words and letters. I am transported right into the story. It's great when I'm reading, bad when the kids are trying to get my attention!

So far this is what I am thinking:
     Story Line / Content
     Character development / ?
     readability / writing itself
     Conversation worthy
     Invokes personal thought/reflection

I wanted to go with aspects that are directly related to the book itself and also how it affects myself as a reader. Since not all books are the same, I think it might make it a little more fair? Probably not really, hmm...

What do you think?
What makes a book stand out to you? What makes a book awesome/horrible? What would you add/take away to a scoring rubric for books?

other Books I've read this month:
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
The Third Door by Emily Rhodda

Join me on GoodReads here

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Lately {week 63}

Welcome to Sunday lately! Given 5 prompts: just write, brain dump, update...
This weeks prompts are: Creating, Finding, Switching, Forgetting, Craving

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe


I was looking at my goals for the year and my scheduled posts that I have started drafting and I need to finish some of those finish-a-long UFO (unfinished objects)... 
Here are those goals... 2016 FinishALong Quarter 1 Goals

I only have a couple weeks left and some of them are almost done! Well, the top to two of them is pieced, it's most of the work done right there.

Sewing is something that does not happen often for me though, lately.


Finding... Time. Still working on that one. The kids in the district are on Spring Break and so with MOPS and our bible study we are taking a break too. it would give a little more time to do thing. I have a lot I want to do this week. I really want to start getting the room ready to move the baby into it and out of ours.

I want to focus on husband too. We lost his grandma yesterday. We got to sing Happy Birthday, and she had family with her. I love my family and I just hope they feel at peace. 

We have to find a sitter for Thursday too! We are celebrating 7 years married and 9 years together! We still have no idea where to go. We will be bringing the baby as she has not received a bottle as of yet. 

We did find time to get the kids to the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend which I think they might have needed giving the crazyness of what was going on. I'm glad we got to spend time with family and sing her happy birthday before she left us. But, it's hard on the kids when you have to sit, be calm and be quiet. Of course I didn't think to take pictures until we left (minus the one of little man throwing a "I'm Tired" fit. But, I don't need to share that with you...

I think I need to start setting the coffee pot for delayed brewing in the morning and grab a cup during the last feeding of the baby before the kids wake up... I need to start getting my day going so I can get things done. So far I haven't really accomplished much. I need to start switching my brain on the morning. 

This last week I ended up turning in some books to the library super late just because by the time I got up and moving it was time for the kids to take a nap. Once the kids wake up from nap, it's time to start getting dinner and other things ready. My house is an utter mess and it is starting to drive me crazy. I think, maybe if I can get my brain running in the morning I might be able to accomplish more during the day...


So far, I think it's been about 3 days total this week, I have forgotten to put beans on the stove to soak in the morning for tacos. Today I have forgotten to do this yet again! It doesn't help that I wasn't fully up this morning until after 9 am. Beans need to start soaking before 9 in the morning. I didn't really start functioning until almost 11 am. I completely missed the boat by the time I even thought about putting the beans on the stove at 1pm. And now I have completely missed the day since it is already after 3. At least the kids ate lunch! Sure it might have been leftovers from the weekend. But hey! That counts. I was suffering a headache borderline migraine this morning too and now am just tired. Coffee only does so much when you are running off of around 4 hours of sleep. No wonder my brain isn't working. I need to start going to bed when the baby goes down at night. She gets 5 hours first thing (sure from about 8pm - 1am)... I just need to start getting the older 2 ready earlier, which means dinner needs to be done earlier. I guess I should start my prep now... Maybe I might be done at a decent time to get us all to bed earlier... Now, I'm rambling...


I was hoping my chocolate and soda cravings would go away after the little one arrived... But it's just gotten worse! I need to stay away from the carbonation (even the mineral water) as it affects her stomach in a bad way... Horrible spit up, bad gas that makes her super cranky...

A photo posted by JessiBerry (@jessiberry09) on

I'm so tired and ready for a nap...

Until next time,

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Kids Behind the Blog {TKBTB V2}

I have come across a few blogs linking up with a few ladies who are hosting a series The Kids Behind the Blog. Getting to know those little ones who made us mamas. Their quirky personalities shine through in their answers, and it's so fun! Since they are the reason for me starting the blog, I decided to join in! 
Once a month.. ask the kids 5 questions.. and see what they say!

Hall Around Texas

I asked Samara these questions and her response to all of them were "pants!" much to the amusement of her brother! Bless his little heart, he tried to get her to answer them besides pants but to no avail!

A photo posted by JessiBerry (@jessiberry09) on

Here are Nikolai's answers!
1.) What do you enjoy doing with Mommy and Daddy?
playing with Legos with Daddy, look at cactus and spiders, watching movies and TV. Mommy, you should get some legos too!

2.) What is one thing you're really good at?
building legos! I am! I am really good at building legos! 

3.) What is something Mommy and Daddy tell you all the time?
clean my room!

4.) What do you want to be when you grow up?
a paleontologist!

5.) What do you think Mommy and Daddy do when you go to bed at night?
go to sleep, but you (mommy) falls asleep without glasses

I love their responses, they are just so ... them!

Want to join in? Here are the questions for April 13th!

1. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends?
2. Who is your favorite person?
3. When playing outside, what do your ideal sunny day plans look like?
4. What do you like to do when it's raining? (Since April showers bring May Flowers)
5. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant?

So fun!
Until next time

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sunday Lately {week 62}

I'm loving these Sunday Lately posts. I missed this yesterday so I am a day late! I know everything has been about baby lately. But she is our whole world right now, as babies should be! :)


We have been watching a lot of TV and this has the extent of what we have been doing for the last couple weeks. I sit on the rocking chair and the kids sit on the couch or the floor. Of course, they really aren't watching the tv, but at least they are staying in the room. The kids have been making insane messes while I am nursing the baby and at least with the tv on they are keeping the mess in the tv room.

At the moment, PBS has an info-mercial on about changing out junk food to healthier options... I am honestly considering buying the book "From Junk Food to Joy Food" by Joy Bauer. Really!?! I am usually so good about not even looking into these things, but the library doesn't have it and the Husband does often complain the food we eat isn't healthy... At least I can suggest the library get the book...

Speaking of which, I am going to request them to get one I would really like to read for the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge for the politcal option. Let Us Water the Flowers: The Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran It's a memior of a political prisoner in Iran. It sounds really interesting!


I am appreciating my husband so much these last several weeks. Things have been crazy and the baby nurses at the end of the day like she doesn't get fed at all. This makes it really hard to make sure dinner is done at a decent time of what we were used to before she got here. Even though dinner has been happening a lot later, Husband has been great about it, helping cook and make sure dinner gets done even if it is a lot later than we were used to. I know he is tired from a really long day at work and he helps me out without complaining (too much at least). 

I have to say, I also appreciate frozen foods! They are so easy to heat up for lunches for the kids! It makes lunch time so much easier! I'm still not for standing for a long duration of time. Dinosaur chickens, taquitos, corn dogs... these have all been a lifesaver for me during lunch time. 


I am not much of a designer and spending most of my time on the couch doesn't let me do to much... I did take a look at the alphabet pieces I want to turn into a paper pieced quilt.  But since the program is on the computer which no longer accesses the internet and needs to be plugged in during the entire duration it is on and running (not to mention it heats up pretty quick)... I haven't really touched it beyond looking. I can't even remember how I got it into a pdf file from the program I have. Perhaps it is something I should look into working on during those moments I am confined to sitting in the chair nursing... But then it's hard to do with only one hand...


The kids watched Sleeping Beauty a few days ago, which was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up, and I have been humming the music since. I was standing at my brother's place, doing the rocking standing bounce thing with the baby, and I could not stop humming the music! 


I have no expectations for my day to day. I'm living day by day, moment by moment right now. I expect my kids to take a nap. But honestly, naps haven't been happening lately. As long as we survive the day, that is all that matters at this point.

I am waiting for my little guy to start kindergarten in about 4 months! Eek! I am super excited about kindergarten! I need to continue working on his letters, letter sounds and other preschool things since we didn't go to preschool. The miscarriage in Sept 2014 and the pregnancy with baby kind of limited the amount of homeschool we were doing here. I was too exhausted and emotional to be objective with his learning. He is amazing with what he can do, there isn't too much to fill in before kindergarten starts. I think at this point we will just work from a workbook he got for his birthday! Yay! I know he is super stoked too!

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe