What I'm Reading

This week I finished Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I had been waiting for it for quite some time, so I was quite happy when it was finally my turn!!

I honestly can't remember how this book came on my radar. I probably read a review in a literary journal and thought it looked promising.

I LOVED IT!!

Heidi Wood is a happily married woman, wife to Chris, mom to Zoe. She teaches English at a non-profit, and is described by her husband as a charitable woman, she takes in stray cats, and recycles everything.

During her commute one cold Chicago spring morning she notices a young woman with an infant. She observes them over a period of a few days before she finally has the courage to speak to the girl and invites her and her baby to a restaurant. One thing leads to another and the girl, Willow, and the baby, Ruby join Heidi at her Lincoln Park condo. Her husband and daughter are not happy by this event.

And from here we learn more about Heidi and Willow. What brought Willow and Ruby to Chicago? Why are they homeless?

Honestly there were quite a few twists in this story that I did not see coming. And more than once I gasped out loud and said "oh poor baby" and I wasn't only speaking about Ruby.

This was a great book, and I am now next in line to read The Good Girl also by Mary Kubica, so I should have that book in the next few weeks.

In the meantime I just started The Lying Game by Sara Shepard.

I'm only 3 chapters in but I'm a intrigued. I'm not sure if I'll finish it or move on to something else, but for now it will do.

Have you read anything by Mary Kubica or Sara Shepard?

What I'm Reading

This week I finished All the Light We Cannot See. It was AMAZING!!

I won't give any spoilers but will say that the characters that I thought would suffer a tragic demise did not. And that made me happy. There were quite a few times when my eyes got a little wet, and I had to stop reading and catch my breath. Excellent story telling.

And then in a 2 day period I read and finished The Book of Speculation.

This debut novel by Erika Swyler was breathtaking!! After my first day of reading, that night when I went to bed, I actually had a dream about Simon Watson. I have NEVER had a dream about a fictional book character before. I could not shake the story from my mind. The next day I pretty much binge read. I just had to know more about these characters and the ties that bound them all together.  Simon is a librarian who in the beginning of the book gets downsized. 

The Book of Speculation is a log from a traveling carnival dating back to the 1700's. Simon gets sent the book from a bookseller who somehow figures out that a name in the book was Simon's grandmother and through some research tracks down Simon and send him the book. Simon discovers that the book does in fact contain information about his ancestors, which calls his attention to a freaky coincidence: generations of circus mermaids (related along the female line) all died by drowning on July 24th, which is the date his mother, a former circus mermaid, also drowned when he was a child. 

Side note: Not mermaids like this:

But are "mermaids" in the sense that they can hold their breath for a really long time and swim around sexily underwater in clingy white dresses. Oh and apparently can't drown until a seemingly random July 24th. 

Okay, for lack of spoilers, I'll stop there. But I loved this book.

Once I was finished with The Book of Speculation I decided to try out some Zombie lit. I chose Zone One by Colson Whitehead. 

From the publisher:

In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. 

Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives. 

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. 

And then things start to go wrong. 

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

 

Blah blah blah. Sounds great, right? I think I made it 3 chapters before I had enough. Done. Enough. Maybe I need to give it a little bit longer, but I honestly don't have time to read bad books. Yell

So today I started a book that had been on my TBR (to be read) shelf for a few months, and it finally became available.

 

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica started off reminding me of The Girl on the Train, which I did not love. But its switched gears and seems to be picking up steam and I think it holds a lot of promise. I'm sure I will have it finished by next Wednesday. 

 

What have you been reading??

Florida Prepaid College Plans #StartingisBelieving

Open enrollment for the Florida Prepaid College plans for 2015-2016 begin on October 15th, 2015. Start saving for your child’s education and future NOW. I am a proud Florida Prepaid College Plan Believer. All though this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. #StartingIsBelieving

It's hard to believe that 6 years ago the #TampaTrio started school. Ronin was in PreK3, Ella in PreK4, and Haley in Kindergarten.

Even though this was their first year in school, James and I had already started their college funds just a few short months after each of them were born, so they started elementary school with a Florida Prepaid College plan already in place. 

Fast forward 6 years to the start of the 2015-2016 school year. 

Ronin is now in 4th grade and wants to be an ER doctor, Ella is in 5th grade and wants to be a veterinarian, and Haley in 6th grade wants to be an archeologist.

Thank goodness I enrolled them in the Florida Prepaid College Plan because all three of their career choices certainly require college, A LOT of college.

 

There are five Prepaid Plans, each with specific costs, payment schedules and benefits which all include tuition and most fees at either one of 28 Florida Colleges or 12 State Universities. Though each option is designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, the amount covered by the plan can also be applied to other schools nationwide. So as much as I want my Trio to stay close to home (forever and ever) I know that it's likely that they might desire to spread their wings and head to college out of state. Thankfully the plans can be applied to schools outside the Sunshine State.

There are only certain times during each year that you can enroll your child in the plans.  For 2015-2016, open enrollment is Oct. 15, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016.

The cost of the plans vary depending on how old your child is and which of the 5 plans you choose.

For a NEWBORN these are the current MONTHLY rates:

4-Yr Florida University Plan $182.63

1-Yr Florida University Plan $45.69

2 + 2 Florida Plan $144.35

4 Yr College Plan $114.69

2 Yr College Plan $53.13

 

Once you enroll and get your account set up you can increase your monthly payment at ANY time simply by logging into your account and making a payment. It can be a one time payment or a recurring payment. This is a great option for grandparents that might be looking to help out. We did it for Ella when she was awarded some money earlier this year. It was so easy for me to go online and make a one time payment, and then the rest of our monthly payments will be the same as they were, we will just finish her payoff sooner, rather than later. 

 

If you have ANY questions about the Florida Prepaid College Plans, feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to answer them! I feel somewhat like a pro since we've had accounts for 11+ years now Smile

You can also reach out to their amazing customer service team at 1800552GRAD (4723) and they will answer any and all questions you may have.

You can also check out Florida Prepaid College Plans online and figure out which plan is just right for your future college student!