Tuesday, August 4, 2015

July Wrap Up

Hey y'all! July is over!  It felt like it went by fast while also feeling like a long month.  July was a great reading month for me!  I read 13 books this month; I don't remember the last time I read that many books in a month.  I have read a total of 57 books this month and according to goodreads, I'm 11 books ahead of schedule on my goal of 80 books which is awesome in my opinion.

Here are my July numbers:
-13 books read
--2 Non-Fiction
--8 Library Books
--5 Historical Fiction
--4 Review
--6 ebooks
--1 Book I own

Here is what I read in July:

1.) The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
2.) America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril and Liberation by Elaine Tyler May
3.) Things You Won't Say by Sarah Pekkanen
4.) The Lady Bornekova by Sara R. Turnquist
5.) Bone Box by Jay Amberg
6.) The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
7.) Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum
8.) Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
9.) The Siege Winter by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman
10.)  The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
11.) An Immortal Descent by Kari Edgren
12.) The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
13.) Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts

What all did you read in July?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mailbox Monday (50)

It's time for Mailbox Monday again!

Whew!  I think I'm getting to the point where I'm slightly overwhelmed by how many books I have to read.  Between the library and buying books, I kind of have a lot right now. Hopefully I can find some time to get through them all!

Purchased (for nook):

For Review (from HFBVT):

From the Library:

What books did you pick up this week?

Friday, July 31, 2015

#FitReaders Weekly Check In (7)

Hey everyone!  Tonight I'm feeling pretty good about my fitness goals because I actually lost weight (only a pound but still).  I've been at the same weight for the month of July so it was nice to see the numbers go down.  Last week was so bad with regards to eating.  There were a ton of work luncheons and family obligations and I think I ate out at least once a day (if not twice) almost every day.  Needless to say, I was not surprised that my weight didn't go down.  I've lost approximately 8 lbs and am hoping to keep on losing; my goal is 4 more pounds by the middle of September.

I have stuck with working out five days a week which I'm super proud of.  Both last week and this  I ran for 40 minutes three times a week and did Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred twice per week.  I HATE Level 3!  It's hard but not in a good way; the moves are incredibly complex and sometimes I think I need a professional showing me proper form for the moves.  I'll do it for one more week and then I'm going to try out Jillian's Ripped in 30 DVD.  I don't love Jillian Michaels but she has good workouts that aren't super long (I don't have the time for an hour long video).

With regard to reading, this week I've finished An Immortal Descent by Kari Edgren, Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts and The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau.  I'm currently reading The End of Tsarist Russia by Dominic Lieven.

How are things going with your fitness goals?  Have a great weekend!

Review: "Who Do You Love" by Jennifer Weiner

From Goodreads: Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.

My Thoughts: I thought this book was absolutely adorable!  I have always enjoyed Jennifer Weiner's books and this one is no exception. The characters were great and the romance was really sweet.  It was a perfect summer read!

Rachel and Andy randomly meet when they are 8 years old and don't see each other again for years.  They almost seem like magnets, they can be separated but they innately want to come back together.  Their relationship is complicated by race and upbringing and while they loved each other deeply, their relationship tended to be tumultuous..  I really enjoyed these two characters anad watching them grow and mature throughout the book. Rachel was kind of spoiled brat in the beginning and she became such a strong, caring woman.  Andy also became better over the years; less angry and more open.  Even though Andy made some royally bad decisions, I still liked him as a character and kind of felt bad for him.  There were also a lot of great side characters in this book too.  Mr. Sills was my favorite.  He was the voice of reason and the one constant in Andy's life.  Without his mentorship, Andy would never have been able to make it as far as he did.

I did find the ending of this book to be a little abrupt and almost too perfect but as a whole, I really loved this book.  I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for fun and romance.  4 stars.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts (11)

Happy Wednesday y'all!  I'm linking up with Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts over at Bookishly Boisterous today.

1.) I have purchased so many ebooks this month.  It's kind of ridiculous.  I get completely sucked into the Kindle Daily Deals and all of the $1.99 ebooks at Amazon and Barnes and Noble plus I really needed some retail therapy this month.  I finally added up how much I spent and it came to around $27; I was shocked because $1.99 here and there doesn't seem like much.  I guess I will be slowing down on that next month.  

2.) I have no more shelf space at home and no room for more bookshelves.  Our local library has been having book sales more often and the Dollar Tree has actually had some good books recently so I have added a lot to my shelves in recent months.  I just cannot pass up cheap books!  I'm going to make a concerted effort this fall to read books I own so that I can start purging my collection.  We are hoping to buy a house next year and I want to wittle down my books a bit before we move.

3.) I'm suffering some serious work burn out lately.  It's terrible timing because things are going to get wild and crazy once school starts.

4.) I'm enrolled in a course for the fall just for personal enrichment and now I have to decide if I actually want to go through with it.  Writing papers and enforced reading doesn't sound super fun to me right now.

5.) Julia and I are doing parent/child swimming 'lessons' right now and it's amazing to me how much she loves being in the pool.  She is a true water baby.  It's adorable how excited she gets.  I'm a little nervous about how she will react when they are over (Saturday is the last one).  Things could get ugly.

6.) I try to keep track of the types of books I read (ebook, library, book I own, etc.) throughout the year.  I was surprised to see that I have read almost as many library books so far this year as I did the entire year last year.  I'm kind of surprised to see that I didn't read that many library books in 2013 and 2014 because I thought I used the library a lot.  I guess I check out a lot of books that I don't actually finish.  I didn't start tracking until 2012 but I went back through my 2011 list and it looks as though at least half (if not more) of the books I read were library books and I think I'm headed back in that direction this year.

7.) I'm kind of a nerd and I love musicals.  Like LOVE them.  I've been really bored with my Pandora stations lately and have been listening to different versions of my favorite songs from musicals.  I discovered Julian Ovenden who I am now obsessed with.  His voice is fantastic plus he's pretty cute; he's also a regular on Downton Abbey so he's basically perfect.

That's all I have for this week.  Sorry for the word vomit! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review and Giveaway: "The Lady Bornekova" by Sara R. Turnquist

Synopsis:   The red-headed Karin is strong-willed and determined, something she inherited from her father. She tries to keep her true nature a secret to avoid being deemed a traitor by those loyal to the king. Karin and her father butt heads over her duty to her family and the Czech Crown. She is then sequestered to the Royal Viscount’s hunting lodge.

Not aware of everything that is happening, she becomes the target of an individual with murderous intent. Her heart soon becomes entangled though her father intends to wed her to another. The turmoil inside Karin deepens and reflects the turmoil of her homeland, on the brink of the Hussite Wars.

My Thoughts:  The Lady Bornekova is a delightfully entertaining read.  It has a great plot, interesting characters and the just the right touch of romance as well as a unique historical backdrop.  I had never heard of the Hussite Wars prior to this book and after finishing it, had to resort to Google and Wikipedia to learn more.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book set in a country you don't normally see in historical fiction and set in an era that is new to me.  It's so refreshing (and exciting) to read such a good story that is so 'out of the box' in comparison to other works of historical fiction.

Lady Karin Bornekova is the main character of the novel and she was such an intelligent and likable character.  In a time when women weren't allowed to have opinions, she had strong convictions that were outside the mainstream and she was willing to sacrifice everything for those convictions.  I definitely admired her strength and tenacity as she stood up to her father and other people in her life who tried to prevent her thinking and believing the way that she did.

The story had a bit of a mystery to it and while I could easily see who the perpetrator was, I still enjoyed the strange occurrences that seemed to plague Karin.  Even when everything was revealed, I was still a bit shocked by the cause and impetus for all that she had to endure.  Also, there was, what in my mind seemed like, a cliffhanger ending to this story.  It seemed to me like the author might have more to say about Karin's life during the Hussite Wars and I'm very hopeful that she does.  3 stars.

About the Author:

Sara resides with her family in Middle TN. Though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word has always drawn her to write. An avid reader, she has been, for many years, what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic for short stints in the summer over several years. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in the Czech town of Hradec Kralove.

To enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Lady Bornekova GLEAM ENTRY FORM 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mailbox Monday (49)

It's time for another Mailbox Monday post! 

Once again I could not resist the cheap ebooks that Amazon and Barnes and Noble were promoting this week.  I really need to stop!  I already have more than I can read.  I also was able to spend a little time browsing at the library and I came home with a nice stack of books.  These days, I hardly ever get to spend time at the library by myself for more than a minute or two so it was wonderful to have time to just wander and see what I could find.

Purchased (for kindle):

 Purchased (for nook):

From the Library:

What books did you get this week?

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