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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Seven Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed. This can mean I love it more, or less, or that I have complicated feelings about it.  I decided to join into the meme at the last minute and for the life of me can not come up with ten, so here's SEVEN books I feel differently about after time has passed.

1. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. This one was recommended to me by Trish many years ago. I read it during my drive to Alabama that summer. At the time, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. I find myself thinking about two of the scenes from the book a lot and remembering the general feel of it. My affection for it has grown simply based on it's sticking power.

2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Like many people, I felt all the feels for this one in college. For many years it was the first book I read at the beginning of the year. I have a mug, and a fancy boxed edition, and I can recognize any quote from the book. However, the older I get, the more pretentious I find it.

3. Love Story by Erich Segal. On how I loved to read this and cry in college. "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Bleh. So overdone.

4. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I haven't reread this one (Ain't nobody got time for that) but I can see the problems with the depiction of slavery.  That said, I'd love to reread it and see if my love of the book overcomes those issues for me.

5. Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am firmly in the "Love it!" camp, but so many of my fellow bloggers and friends hated it. I can't help but wonder if I missed something.

6. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. Just call it fiction from the beginning.
7. Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught.  My romance loving friends will know the problems with this one, and I can't bring myself to ever read it again, but in college I absolutely loved it.  This is one of the shining examples of how awful a romance can be, while also being very well loved.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree? What book do you feel differently about?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five things I want on Friday

I am slightly in love with these Dr. Scholls sandals. I think they would be cute with shorts and skirts both.

This Under Armour tank. We tend to not buy UA stuff, because the trendiness of a $50 shirt for 1st graders kills us, but I love the back of this tank.

Nude ballet flats.  As much as I look at wedges and heels, I always come back to ballet flats. I need a pair that "disappears" while still looking cute. I have a very old beat up pair of Clarks, but they are no longer in work condition. I like this pair from Steve Madden.

This summery t-shirt. Perfect for post run. (The hashtags say #perfectday #anyorder #showeroptional #letsbereal)

A Turkish bath towel. If the reviews are correct, these would be well worth the money! Compact and still opens large, dries well, gets softer with washing. I hate the giant bag of towels we lug on the boat each time.

What's on your wish list this week?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reading Update - April 2016

This email looks like I read a ton in April, but I really just read in starts and bits and not at all as much as I'd have liked. April is a tough month. School is getting boring for the kids, but summer is still so far, so there are constant struggles, the boys both have birthdays and that eats up a whole week, this year we ran a half marathon as well. I'd like to have my own personal Read-A-Thon to catch up now!

Read in April:

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I loved this. One of my favorites in a long time.

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Not worth the time. A book about productivity should inspire me, and this one did not.

Playing Hard by Melanie Scott. I'm about half done. There's a scene coming I don't want to read and I haven't read Scott before so I don't know if I can trust her to make it good, so I sat it aside for a bit.

Blues Bones by Rick Starkey-- Previewed for Tristan. Eh.

The Bride by Julie Garwood. I could not resist rereading at least one. Still good, but dated.

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. (Scribd) Still reading, so far I enjoy it.

Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. (Scribd) I'd really like to not keep getting injured by the sport I love. Barely started it at this point.

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan (NetGalley) Also barely started.

New to My Kindle

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle (NetGalley)

From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne (NetGalley)

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn ($1.99 on Kindle!)

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (Kindle)

The Morning Miracle: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Elrod (Kindle) Really really really need to bump this up, I've heard so many good results!

Tough Luck Hero by Maisey Yates (NetGalley)

Cowboy After Dark by Vicki Lewis Thompson (NetGalley)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 River Rat Half Marathon - Yankton, SD

Last weekend we took a running vacation and ran the River Rat Half Marathon in Yankton, SD.  Mike and I have been training for this basically since New Year's, and it was always the SD half that Mike wanted to run the most. This was his first half, and my second.  Training went well for both us us, up until about three weeks ago. That week was birthday week at our house, and neither of us ran for the entire week. Mike returned to running that weekend, and I followed up on Monday the 11th with my 12 mile long run, and then disaster struck. My right shin started to hurt, in the same area as my previous stress fracture. The pain wasn't the same, but I was incredibly anxious about it. Mike continued to train, and I proceeded to not run again until the half two weeks later.
I was determined that Mike would have a terrific first half, so I decided that I would register for the race and continue like I was going to run, but reevaluate often and bow out if it hurt at all.  The first mile I could feel the sore area, but I concentrated on short, fast steps and kept going. At the end of two miles I could not feel it at all, so I kept going... and it never hurt again. Even after it was over, it did not hurt. I was thrilled to be able to run, and since I didn't think I would make it I had no time expectations, so I was able to run slow and careful and not concern myself with pace.
High Fives from Noah at the start line.

The route for the River Rat begins on the Missouri River, very near the bridge to Nebraska. You quickly leave the waterfront, and run past the hospital and monastery to get onto Highway 50 out of town. As you leave town, you run down a giant hill, and the entire time all you can think is that you have to get back UP that hill at some point.  There's a couple miles of out and back, and then you're staring down that hill again. The half marathon route loops around a shaded, semi-residential route, but ultimately the elevation climb is the same, because at the top of the climb it meets back up on the same road. (The full marathoners have to run back up the highway.)
See the giant hill behind me?
 After the giant hill, it winds around by the high school before dropping onto the Auld-Brokaw trail through town. The trail is concrete (the entire race is on hard surface, fyi) and there are several little pigtail loops under roads, but you don't have to wait for traffic anywhere. There's about 2.5 miles left at this point, and I was getting a little tired. (Remember, I'd only run once in the preceding three weeks!) I was faster than the walkers but slower than the other runners so I was weirdly all alone on the route. For several miles I couldn't see any other runners at all. The last mile and a half were back near the river and the wind had picked up significantly. At once point there was a break in the wind and I literally stumbled from the lack of resistance.  The route takes a right turn and you can see the finish line ahead of you in the park, but! jokes on you! cause they route you all the way around the park to come back at it from the other direction. I was pretty beat by the end of it, but if I learned nothing from Crazy Horse it was to smile for the camera.

Finish line!

Mike finished about 15 minutes behind me, and while neither of us were last, it was not a fast run. We were both thrilled to have finished at all tho, and felt like the run was a complete success. The race seems fairly unorganized- there aren't any emails telling you where to go or where to line up or if there is any food after. There are no vendors at packet pickup and no options to buy other swag. You show up at the start line and follow the crowd, but it's a small crowd, so it's ok. That said, the volunteers are terrific and even the slow runners at the end get kudos and cheers as they pass the water stations, and there are volunteers at literally every turn cheering and clapping and helping out. The SD National Guard is on many of the corners prior to getting on the trail, and every single one cheered and clapped for me. There were only 162 runners for the half, and a $60 entry fee, and even with the giant hill I think it would be a great first marathon.  My knees hurt quite a bit that night, but my shins were/are fine and three days later I only have a little quad pain, and am ready to run again.
Family finish photo!
The best part though, hands down, was that our chosen family, our family BFFs went with us.  The got a room next to ours overlooking the pool and hung with us for the entire weekend. We made signs the week before when Mike was gone, and they hauled our three kids, plus their own, around the race to cheer and were at the start and finish lines for us. I can not express how much this means to me, and how much I love those guys.

Our signs included:
-Hurry Up So We Can Drink
-YOU are my favorite runner!
-Run Faster, I just Farted. (Kids, what are you gonna do?)
-Run Like You Stole Something
- GO Mike and Lisa GO
-Go Dad Go I Love You
-Run for the Hill (with detailed illustration)
- You aren't slow, you're getting your money's worth!
-Power Up Here! (with a green power up "button")
Plus pom poms and a cowbell!
The boys helping me at the bottom of the big hill.

Mike gets a boost from Lauren a few minutes later.

The hotel had a terrific pool, a little kid pool, and a hot tub and the kids played for hours and hours, and slept really well. My niece came over the night after the race to babysit poolside and the grownups went to dinner and relaxed. It was such a great trip.

Noah trying to stare holes through their closed curtains. He was the first kid up on Sunday.
Next up: the Aberdeen Bull Run Half Marathon on July 30th!

Hurry Up So We Can Drink!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

One Night Charmer by Maisey Yates

Maisey Yate? Yes, please!

From Amazon:
Copper Ridge, Oregon's favorite bachelor is about to meet his match

If the devil wore flannel, he'd look like Ace Thompson. He's gruff. Opinionated. Infernally hot. The last person that Sierra West wants to ask for a bartending job—not that she has a choice. Ever since discovering that her "perfect" family is built on a lie, Sierra has been determined to make it on her own. Resisting her new boss should be easy when they're always bickering. Until one night, the squabbling stops…and something far more dangerous takes over.

Ace has a personal policy against messing around with staff—or with spoiled rich girls. But there's a steel backbone beneath Sierra's silver-spoon upbringing. She's tougher than he thought, and so much more tempting. Enough to make him want to break all his rules, even if it means risking his heart…

So it looks like Maisey Yates is going to follow the plan laid out by Shalvis' Lucky Harbor and Mallery's Fool's Gold and run an extended small town series focus around small groups of three, a series within a series. This is a setup I enjoy, and of course now I'll be keeping my eye out looking for potential matchups.

As it turns out, this one is a bit hard to talk about without spoilers, as a major event happens early on in the book. This was shocking to me, something you rarely see in novels published this decade, and I immediately worried that it would fall flat.  The unfolding is well done tho, with the reader clearly in the loop from the first moment and instead of playing off as completely corny, the expectation from the reader is built up nicely.  I thought it was handled really well. However, I suspect some readers will hate it. (Sorry to be vague, but spoilers!)

Ace is charming and hot and from his appearance in the first three Copper Ridge books I thought I knew who he was. As it turns out, Ave hides a lot behind his role as the helpful bartender, and his life is empty and lonely. Ace knows everyone and likes everyone but feels like he's messed up so much of his life outside of Copper Ridge and can't really ever recover.  Fortunately for him, Sierra comes along and demands that he face his past (it's really not optional, at all) and while he struggles a bit with it he ultimately pulls it together.

Sierra is a bit of a contradiction. She is a spoiled rich kid, absolutely, but she's also smart and capable. She might have worked at daddy's ranch, but she was good at it. She struggles to find her place when she leaves the ranch, because of course everyone thinks she only got the job because she's family, when really she's a hard worker and completely able to handle what's thrown her way.  I did have a hard time with her stubbornness, and was grateful when she acknowledged that even she wasn't consistent (for example, she keeps driving the truck her dad paid for, after cutting ties.)

In the end, I did enjoy this a good bit. I wasn't expecting to, after the big secret is revealed, but it ended on a good note and I would not hesitate to request another.

One Night Charmer is released on April 19th.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five Thoughts on Books

1. I really love NetGalley. It lets me keep up with my favorite authors in more ways than just receiving ARCS. I am awful at tracking release dates and with NetGalley they mostly just show up. (Except for Avon books, sob.)

2. That said, some days I'd really like to abandon my list and binge on a dozen or so rereads.  What would I reread? The entire Bridgerton series. Robert's Bride Quartet. In the Midnight Rain. (duh, always that one.) Some Julie Garwood, but not The Secret, because that's the one I always reread. And, heaven help me, Harry Potter.

3. I'd also like to finish up some series of books that I've enjoyed but never come back to. Namely, the Darynda Jones Charley Davidson series, and the rest of Julie James FBI/ US Attorney series.

4. I'd love to try out Caroline Linden's Scandal series and Sarah MacLean's Scoundrels.

5. And last, we've recently discovered that the high school senior at my office, the one who is already accepted to law school after her bachelors, the one one with the terrific ACT score and GPA, only "Sparks Noted" To Kill A Mockingbird. After an office wide discussion of this tragedy, I now need to reread it. It only remains to be seen if I can bear to read it in paper or if I need to buy it on Kindle. I still have my copy from high school...

Friday, April 08, 2016

Five Random things this week

1. My oldest child, the Pirate, turned 11 yesterday.  Noah will be 8 on Sunday. How are either of these things possible? We got him a skateboard, and they all took turns on it. I spent the entire time imagining broken arms.

2. Our washing machine has stopped draining completely, and on Sunday (ie. Laundry Day) it stopped altogether. We are the sort of people who like to break things worse fix it ourselves, so we took it apart. Last night we discovered a sock in the water pump. Thinking this was likely our problem, we reassembled and ran a small load. Turns out, it was not our problem. It is back to working poorly now tho, instead of not working at all.

3.Mini review! I've had Charles Duhigg's first book, The Power of Habit, on my TBR forever because it's gotten such good reviews, so when I say Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business on NetGalley I was quick to snatch it up.  This one starts out strong and interesting, but after the first two chapters it kind of peters out and seems to lose focus. I was really hoping for some insights to productivity at work, but they weren't here.  I can't recommend it.

4. We have a birthday party tomorrow at our house. I have done zero cleaning and my planning extends to ordering a cake. Can I just throw them on the trampoline and offer them some koolaid? Cause that's the current plan.

5. Mike and I are running a half marathon on April 23rd. I did not run ONCE this week. It could be ugly.  I really need summer to get here so days are longer and we aren't trying to keep a decent schedule for the sake of school!

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