Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Buzzin' and Review

I just finished a fabulous book by Karen Hoover, The Sapphire Flute, Book One in the Wolfchild Saga. This wonderful book has magic, shape shifting, dragons, mystery and intrigue. I loved the characters and they way things were woven together. I'm excited to see how this series plays out. I have my ideas, but love to be proven wrong!

Here's a treat too. I have the first chapter to L. C. Lewis' new book Awakening Avery. Have a read and let me know what you think! It didn't past very well, but here's the link to my facebook to read it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book Buzzin' & Review

Well, I sure didn't expect all the comments to my post on Prop 100. Thanks to everyone who did! There was a great dialogue posted on my facebook wall if anyone is interested in that. I sure have learned a lot from different people.

Anyway, I have these great intentions to post more than once or twice a week, but it seems like the end of the week comes and goes before I can blink. So here we go. This week I'm buzzin' about a great book that I've had the opportunity of reading a few chapters from. Joan Sowards' book Chocolate Roses. From what I've read it is a funny, good read. Here's the back blurb.

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Thoush she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS paraody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

Take a look at it and let me know what you think!

Here's my book review of the week, D. J. MacHale's Morpheus Road The Light. If you like ghosts stories you will love this book. From the author of the Pendragon Series and Are You Afraid of the Dark? he sure knows how to keep an audience on the edge of their seats. I thought I had the plot line figured out, but I was wrong. I love a book that can throw me like that. I'm excited for the next book in the series, especially with how the epilogue worked. He did a fanstastic job and I would recommend this book to anyone.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Prop 100

I just realized I never explained what Prop 100 was. It's a proposed 1% sales tax for three years. The money would go to education and public safety if passed. Another thing I never mentioned was the budget cuts that are happening in education. Last year they cut something like $42 billion from education. That hurt but we all made due. Teachers were let go and some were hired back. However, this year, even if Prop 100 passes they are still going to cut another $45 to $50 billion from the budget. If it doesn't, it's something like $70 billion that will be cut. Pretty crazy if you ask me.

Teachers already spend enough in their classrooms. With these kind of cuts it will come down to teachers paying for everything in their classrooms out of pocket and/or parents being expected to pay for things like textbooks, workbooks, paper, etc. Not a good situation either way you look at it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Prop 100

I've been thinking about Prop 100 a lot lately. With the election coming up on the 18th of May I find myself being torn by this one. As a former educator, having been raised by two educators who still teach and with a sister in education I feel I have some extensive background on education. I understand the importance of good teachers and the funding that is needed to make things happen, but here's where it gets hard for me. I don't believe raising taxes is the best way to fix problems. To me it is like giving a person a fish. It puts a bandade on the problem and doesn't truly fix it, whereas if you teach a person to fish you've taught them how to feed themselves for a lifetime. In my opinion, the government flat out needs to stop spending money they don't have. How many of us have had to live on a tight budget? How many of us have gone without because we didn't have the money. Why should it be any different with the government.

Now, with that out of the way, here's what I know is going to happen to teachers next year. This is for sure, even if Prop 100 passes. My dad is in for a 5% paycut and with him so close to retirement, that intern effects his retirement plan. However, if Prop 100 doesn't pass it will become an 8% paycut plus having to work for 3 or 4 days with no pay.

My mom, who teaches kindergarten for a different district, will have no aide in her classroom. That may not seem like a big deal to any of you who have never taught kindergarten, but let me tell you that if the government expects to increase class sizes--which it does--and take away the aides in kindergarten--which it does--it becomes near to impossible to teach 25-30 kindergarteners. It turns into strictly classroom management, i.e. keeping the kids from hurting each other. Teaching won't happen as well and all the testing and monitoring that is expected can't really happen without running the risk of kids hurting each other. Let me just say, you try to keep 25-30 5-year-olds occupied for the entire school day with no help.

I've been there. I taught a year without an aide and had 25 kids and let me just say how difficult it was. In order to get done what was expected of me, I had to basically get the class busy on a project, hope they stay on task while I tried to test one kid at a time. Not a pretty sight. Anyway, at the moment I can't remember for sure if there will be a paycut for my mom or not, but my money says that there is one coming. It's not a pretty sight.

The expectations for teachers will not change, yet their resources and their ability to do their job is being reduced. It's not fair to them and in turn not fair to the kids. We won't see the results of this immediately (other than those who are directly involved with education) but image ten years down the road when kids who's education has been taken from them because of what is happening in the government are expected to take over the very same government that did them no favors. It is really a sad scenerio.

For those reasons I will probably vote in favor of Prop 100 despite my reserve on how to fix budget problems. I know how it will effect my parents, students and the very future of our state and country. What a sad time it is when the first place people turn for budget cuts are education and public safety. That's another side I could get into because of the many neighbors I have in public safety, but I will save that for another time.

I would love to hear what you have to say about this. Here are informational links in favor of Prop 100 and against Prop 100.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life's Crazy

I always seem to have so many wonderful plans that never quite seem to work out. For instance, I went to this wonderful blogging class taught by Margaret Turley and learned so many cool things and planned on immediately putting them into use, but then life happened. I ended up sick and as my mom always said, "Being sick wouldn't be so bad if you didn't feel so awful!" AMEN!

So, here are a few quick things. While I was sick on the couch I watched the Rachael Ray show. This particular episode was giving back to the community. I watched Rachael Ray rebuild a kitchen for a culinary arts teacher in Philadelphia and give all those students a $5000 scholarship through their YUM-O! program. To watch the excitment and tears that happened was truly inspiring. It makes me want to be in a position some day to be able to do something similar for people. Hopefully I'll be able to make that dream come true.

Then one of the things I learned was how to finally insert pictures AND how to make those pictures links! I know for some of you that may be old school, but for me it was exciting. So from now on, all my book covers for the books I review will be linked to amazon. I'm really excited about it. So here's my first one. I read Alyson Noel's Shadowland in the Immortal Series. I really enjoy the series and am amazed at how many bad choices one person can make, even when they think they are choicing correctly. The motivation behind everything is quite interesting as well. Damen's attitude shift I think is a bit sudden but it does fit the story line. I'm curious to see how everyone gets out of the mess they've gotten involved in. As I've said before with this series, it's not for everyone. There are innuendoes all over the place, but the story is good.