Thursday, May 31, 2012

15.5/40: Free Four (Divergent #1.1) by Veronica Roth

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story (Divergent, #1.1)Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have this book as 15.5 / 40 read this year because it's not a book, it's a chapter. A short chapter of a particular scene from Divergent told from Four's perspective.

I liked it. It added a little to his character that helped me understand him more. It was good to see that he had his own inner struggle going on at the same time Tris did.

Worth a read. I read it between Divergent and Insurgent, but you wouldn't need to. There is one portion that gives you some insight into a scene in Insurgent, but it wouldn't ruin anything for you, it just wouldn't come as a big surprise if you already knew. I doubt that makes any sense.

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16/40: The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

The Witch's DaughterThe Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:
An enthralling tale of modern witch Bess Hawksmith, a fiercely independent woman desperate to escape her cursed history who must confront the evil which has haunted her for centuries My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon—who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul—in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?

I enjoyed The Witch's Daughter. I thought it was well written, intriguing and had a good story. Have you seen the cover? Gorgeous!!
I picked this one off the shelf simply because of the cover and happy that I did. it was a good book. I was hooked with the historical stories and times Bess lived through and loved her present day life.
Bess is a witch, though a reluctant one. When she chooses to use her magic she uses it for good and for healing. She spends her life running from the one man who haunts her through the centuries. Using her magic for evil would draw him to her and so she tries to survive without using it at all. Circumstances however arise no matter where she is and he always seems to find her.
I found it heart breaking the stories Bess tells about her past. The pain she endures losing love over and over again was hard to read. It's human nature to look for companionship and love and being immortal means she has to endure losing it every time she finds it. There is a heart warming part to the story for the love and knowledge she shares with Tegan. She takes her under her wing and teaches her what it means to be a witch.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

15/40: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

I feel like I need to catch my breath. I held my breath through the entire ending of this book.

Tris is amazing.
Four is amazing.
This book... is AMAZING. I devoured it and picked up the second installment almost immediately.

Veronica Roth did such a great job explaining the world. I had a clear vision of what it looked like and didn't question it. She pulls you into this world, tears you apart and builds you back up again repeatedly.  The idea of factions is a new one. Based on your personality you are grouped with like minded people. You follow their rules, whatever they may be. It was a new take on putting people in boxes and what happens to those that don't fit into a box.

The depth of the characters was great. Each one made me feel for where they were coming from. You either liked them, hated them or felt sympathy for them. Beatrice is very complex and while some things annoyed me about her, she was a reluctant hero. She acted when she had to and thought things through. Four was complex in a different way. He had something to hide and something to prove. He wears emotional armor that we get to peak through.

I appreciated that the love story is a subplot. (THANK YOU VERONICA ROTH!!) There was no love triangle (HOORAY!!!) I loved how she weaved in a relationship while making it believable and not overly obsessive on either side of the equation. There are bigger things happening in this book than love between a boy and a girl and Roth does a great job making sure it stays that way.

I have to give huge kudos to Veronica Roth for writing such an amazing book (and it's sequel) at the age of 23. You are truly gifted.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fitness Check In - May 29/2012

I've been doing the Ripped in 30 DVD at home with Frenchie and on Thursdays with Sister#2. So far it's been great. I feel like I have more energy, I have a better outlook (for the most part) and I feel healthier. I have that drive now to get up and move.

The last two weeks we've been doing Week 1 of RI30 and threw in one night of Extreme Shed & Shred. RI30 is by far my favorite. At least it was until we tried week 2 last night. As someone with wrists issue, week 2 is the a workout nightmare. The majority of it is in a plank or push up position. I had a hard time finding alternatives. Basically RI30 is going to be a week 1 only workout.

Last Thursday Sister#2 decided to add half the 6 Week Ab workout Jillian has on DVD. Yikes! I definitely felt that one the next day. This week we're going to change it up since Week 2 is a no go and try Bob Harper: Total Body Transformation.

I also bought new rollerblades since mine are about 10 years old and the wheels are pretty much rusted on. Took them for a spin Sunday after supper while Frenchie ran with Beta. I think this will be a weekend thing for us. It will get him running and I'll get some extra cardio in. Might start going with him after work when Beta stays home and needs a run when we get home.

MeasurementNow2 Weeks Ago
Weight114.6 lbs113 lbs
Chest31 in 32 in
Waist26 in26.5 in
Arms9 in/9 in9 in/9 in
Hips35 in35 in
Thighs20 in/19 in19.5 in/19.5 in
Calves12.5 in / 13 in12.75 in / 12.75 in

Plans for the Week
DayWorkout Planned
May 28thWeek 2 Jillian RI30
May 29thOff
May 30thRollerblade
May 31stBob Harper: Total Body Transformation
June 1stRollerblade
June 2ndExtreme Shed and Shred, Walk Beta
June 3rdExtreme Shed and Shred, Rollerblade


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 1 of Help Hubby

Last week I told you all that I was going to start working out with Frenchie in order to motivate him. I'm SO glad I did. I have felt better over the last week than I have in a while. I have that need in my bones to workout more and more. It's a great feeling.

We've been alternating between the Jillian Michaels DVD's Ripped in 30 and Extreme Shed & Shred. My favorite so far is the RI30. I've had to downgrade myself to 2lb weights. It frustrates me but I know I have to start at the bottom and gain my strength back. It will be slow going, but I need my wrist to be ok so I can function. If I could rest it the day after a workout, I'd push myself harder, but for now, this will do. Every little bit helps right?
I won't update measurements until next week. A week isn't enough to see any changes. Just the change in energy levels and brighter outlook make me happy. It doesn't hurt to have muscle soreness either. As much as that feeling is painful, it's a good pain. It means I worked my butt off and will see results in the future.

I now have a standing workout date with my sister as well for Thursday nights. Our husbands go to ball hockey, so we figure we might as well workout too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Helping Hubby

My husband wants to get in better shape. The only effective way I've found to motivate him is to workout together. (see where this is going?) We both love it, we get to spend more time together and it's healthy!

I got a few of the Jillian Michaels DVD's: Ripped in 30, 30 Day Shred and Extreme Shed & Shred. He's looking for cardio and will add his own weight workouts in. I have trouble lifting weights (because my wrist injury will never go away), so I figure the only ones I can do with him will be the DVD's and then modify a few of those exercises. I've been feeling squishy and want to tone for bikini season, so motivating him is also a little selfish.

Here's the general plan. He just started a new job Monday so we are figuring out a new work schedule so by the end of this week we'll have a better idea of how this is all going to flow week to week.

workout 2 - 3 times a week at his work gym lifting weights.
run with Beta 2 times a week for 30 minutes
ball hockey for 2+ hours once a week
DVD 2 - 3 times a week
Tap class once a week until the end of May
DVD 2 - 3 times a week
Bosu Ball ab work 2 times a week

Along with that, meal planning is going to be a big one. We are usually pretty good at meal planning already, but we'll make a better effort to choose meals that are lower in carbs and sugar. We'll make snacks that are easily transported to work and are healthy. Fruit, guacamole, salsa, homemade muffins.

On top of that, food tracking. We've both been off and on the My Fitness Pal tracking wagon. Yesterday I tracked my meals and had no excuse but to workout last night. I was over my goal calories. I'm not looking to lose weight, just looking to add/subtract inches here or there. The scale number rarely changes for me so a better indicator is measurements.

Here are my starting measurements.
Weight: 113 lbs
Chest: 32 in
Waist: 26.5 in
Arms: 9 in (bicep)
Hips: 35 in
Thighs: 19.5 in
Calves: 12.75 in

I could use all the motivation I can get. Where is my cheer team?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

14/40: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

This has got to be one of the more powerful books I've read in a long time. I can't describe the heart-ache, the joy that this book gave me. The overwhelming sense human kind is missing something is profound. I gave this one to my husband to read and he felt the same.

I know a lot of people who read this in grade school and hated it. I can see how they would. You're young and haven't seen much of the world. I think this is a book that can be appreciated when you are older. I'm not saying I'm old and wise, far from it, but I believe I have a better appreciation of what the message is than I would have if I read it as a teen.
There was a lot of back and forth reading for me with this one. I kept having to go back and made sure I read something right and for things to click. Like I wasn't really sure I was reading it correctly. Amazing. The way it was written was simple enough to fly through, but gave enough of a picture that you really got it.

Jonas was a great character. He was young, eager and once The Giver starting showing him memories he wanted more. Not just the good, but the bad as well. He wanted understanding.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

13/40: Fracture by Megan Miranda

FractureFracture by Megan Miranda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

I enjoyed this book. The characters were good, the relationships were believable. I also really appreciated that this is a stand alone book. Start, Middle, End. THANK YOU!! I'm so frustrated with series books. Tired of them more than anything. I just want to read one that starts and finishes.

I loved Delaney and Decker's relationship/friendship. Neighbours that grew up together and always had feelings but having such a strong friendship was more important. I liked their struggle to figure things out. I've been there, so it was a wicked trip down memory lane.

I also liked that there really wasn't a solid love triangle. Troy wasn't so much a love interest as he was an intrigue to Delaney. Meeting someone the same as her and being so different was a struggle. Their morals were different and that is something Delaney had issues with. Troy moved towards defeat, Delaney was still trying to help people.

The storyline was something I hadn't read before. Knowing that someone was going to die, but not how or when was a new one.  There isn't much to say about the Fracture. It was good. It was quick.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 2012 Book Recap

What I read and started in April 2012
Books read to date: 12/40
According to my book challenge on Goodreads I'm on track to hit my yearly goal!


Fracture by Megan Miranda
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Monthly savings: $46.72
Year-to-date savings: $103.84