March Highlights

March

Working Out:

My goal last month was to run 13.1 miles. This month I actually ran 24 miles!! Yes, 24! That is almost double my goal. But looking back, my weeks are all over the place. One week I only ran once and another I ran four times. So for the month of April, my goal is to run/workout at least three times a week. I am adding working out because of my knees. Some days, they need a break and I might have to do some other type of machine.

Books I’ve Read:

Feb reading

Wow, did I read a lot of books this month. I don’t know why it always surprises me that I read so much, but wow..

Hands down, my favorite book to read this month was Midnight Marked. But I don’t think this is fair because I absolutely love this series. So my top suggestion if you are looking for a book is Good Girl. Check out my review, I promise you will love it!!

As far as a book I really did not enjoy reading- I would have to say it is close but Phantasma would be it. The lead character was just too annoying for me to stomach.

If you missed any of my reviews, below are the links to check them out 🙂

Dangerous to Know (Unbroken Heroes #1)
To Katie with Love 
Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires, #12)
Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)
The Undoing (Call of Crows, #2)
I wish you were mine (Oxford, #2)
Omega (Omega #1)
The Trial
Phantasma 
Good Girl

Writing:

Feb words

My writing was not as productive as I would have liked. I made it to chapter six, but I did far too many revisions and I still don’t have a title. Last months goals was to write for 10 minutes every day and work for 30 minutes each day on writing/editing/working on my book. Yeah, that just didn’t happen. Why? Because life happened and sometimes things just don’t work out. Although I think this is still a good goal, I am going to to change it so something a bit more flexible:

My goal for next month is to write chapter 7&8 and get to section D in my outline. Should be simple, but I already know this will be difficult to accomplish.

Fun and Interesting Post to look back on:

Writing, Erasing, Rewriting…Does it ever stop?
Did I ever tell you…
Help buying a running watch!!

Upcoming Releases April 2016

Again, there are so many books being released this month. How can you ever get bored with reading when there is so much out there? Let me know if you are looking forward to any of the same ones I am or what books you are looking forward to!!!

From something a little naughty to YA, here is my list of fun books I am looking forward to reading in the month of April 🙂

One with You
Published: April 5, 2016
Pages: 480
Goodreads

Synopsis: Gideon Cross Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.
Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us. But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.
Dirty
Published: April 19, 2016
Pages: 288
Goodreads

Synopsis: The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

My Perfect Mistake
Published: April 5, 2016
Pages: 340
Goodreads

Synopsis: A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared.

Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don’t kill each other first.

Magnetic Shift
Published: April 12, 2016
Pages: 260
Goodreads

Synopsis: The ability to magnetize and manipulate metal with the flick of her wrist makes seventeen-year-old Lexi Adams a crack mechanic, but it’s a disaster in the making when her stepdad trades her skills to NASCAR team owner Dean Grant for an entire season’s worth of sponsorship ads.

Now Lexi has no other choice but to suck it up and hope she can keep her magnetic impulses under control—that is, until she runs into NASCAR’s hot new rookie, Colton Tayler.

When Carl Stacy, the ruthless team owner of the defending Cup Champion, discovers Lexi’s secret and plots to use it to ruin Dean’s race team for good, Lexi must either expose her ability to save Colton, risking Dean’s career and her own freedom in the process, or watch the only guy she’s ever fallen for race to his death.

Bright Blaze of Magic
Published: April 26, 2016
Pages: 368
Goodreads

Synopsis: As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

Glittering Court
Published: April 5, 2016
Pages: 416
Goodreads

Synopsis: For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

Motivational Wednesday.. or something like that

Well, according to the weather it is going to rain all day… So cloudy gloomy days call for something extra, right? I don’t know about you but when I write, I depend on a little caffein (preferably coffee) and chocolate. No wonder my pants are getting a little snug.. Oh and the newest member of our family- Pepper.

pepper

Lets see if this is motivation enough to get my creative juices flowing
Starting: 21,198

Update 🙂
Ending: 23236

Not bad. I should still have an hour left to write but my youngest is not having it.. Oh the life of a mom.

Good Girl

Good Girl

Author: Lauren Layne
Published: May 17, 2016
Pages: 220

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

Review:

Jenny is the girl next door who struck it rich but is trying not to let it change who she is. She is funny and her character is easily relatable. She’s the kind of character you wish you could call up on the phone and have as a friend. She is competitive and daring and hilarious. When it comes to Strong Heroine characters, Jenny is a different kind of strong but nonetheless her character fits under that category. She pushes through when things get hard, she has enough respect for herself to walk away from the man she loves, and she keeps her head high when it would be easier to let it fall. If that isn’t strong, what is?

Preston… Noah… Whatever you want to call him is a top grade asshole! He is condescending, judgmental,and just plain mean. But he is also sexy as hell with a dominating personality. I have never met a character that I am both rooting for and planning his demise. I do feel like Jenny let him off the hook a little easy but he more than make up for it.

To put it mildly, this book is explosive with the sexual attraction between Jenny and Noah! I absolutely loved the playful banter and watching the sexual tension grow. When part of it came to crest, my mouth was hanging open and I couldn’t read the story fast enough. I couldn’t read this book fast enough! This book is a roller coaster. You go from laughing, to having your mouth drop open with some of the sexual scenes (particularly when Noah goes to Jenny’s bedroom for the first time), to feeling sadness, and happiness, and really everything in between.

This is a fun easy read. If you are looking for a romantic book to curl up with on a rainy day, this is it! I really can’t say enough about this book. This book hit me at the perfect time. This book has romance, humor, sexy alpha males, strong heroines, great dialogue banter, an enemy to lover aspect, and a fun and hot romance.

Taking that first step

Writing is

Today I took a first step and emailed a friend the first three chapters of my book… I am both excited and scared on what he will think. What if he hates it or what if he loves it and the rest of the chapters don’t live up to this one.

With all the worry swimming around in my head, I’ve decided to try not to think about it. I’ve done it, it’s done. There is nothing else for me to dwell on. It is what it is. But at least I did it. Now if only I can get past chapter six…

Phantasma

Phantasma

Author: Efthalia
Published: April 12, 2016
Pages: 396

Stars: 1 out of 5

Synopsis:
Carissa Alkippes is the daughter of a god but she doesn’t know it. As a cop she’s seen her fair share of bad but nothing prepared her for the horror of the world she has been plunged into.

Xen Lyson is the head of the Phi Athanatoi, a group of immortals who have been protecting man for over 2,000 years from the Kakodiamones–demons who want nothing more than to feast on humanity.

Thrown face to face with Xen during a skirmish with the demons, Carissa becomes a pawn in the deadly game of a demi-god who seeks godly powers.

Review:

The book starts off with a good amount of action. But I couldn’t help but feel the over abundance of Greek profanity used by Charissa, not only took away from the plot but also prevented the reader from fully submerging within the story. As I’m reading the first chapter, I felt like I was constantly stopping and wondering what a word meant. The authors word choice in general is at times interesting but mostly I found it odd, if not sometimes awkward. The way things were described was unique but I couldn’t help but feel like the flow was somewhat hindered. As though the author was trying to make things too complex or something.

Charissa is a cop and a virgin. She is always hungry and her stomach makes loud growling sounds at inappropriate times. She is a bit awkward and comes to terms with the new situation really fast. I wouldn’t characterize her as a strong character or say she has the best judgment. For example, within minutes after showing up at her Aunts fundraising party, she goes to the bar area to gets drunk and picks on the bartender. When he tries cutting her off, she threatens him with the fact that ‘her badge and gun say otherwise’.

Zen is a vampire and at first sight, or was it smell, he was enthralled with Charissa. He is extremely powerful and has the ability to read minds. Most everyone is afraid of him because of his tempter and how strong/dangerous he is.

This is one of those love at first sight books, where the characters have a preordained mate. Had I known this book was like this, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up because I really don’t like book like these. I find them unrealistic and even in my fantasy books, I need some element of reality mixed in.

The story picks up some and the complexity is entertaining. But for some reason I just couldn’t fall in love or get completely lost within the plot. Again, I think this has a lot to do with the instant attraction and dependence between the characters. If you are into these kinds of books, give this one a shot. But I don’t like I am a good judge for this book because this book wasn’t for me.

Running Week 8

Monday– Hour Fitness class that focuses on strengthening my knees and core.. fun times 🙂 I also decided I needed to do something about my knees. You can see my post about this struggle: Enough is Enough.


Tuesday– I took this day off because my knees were killing me!!


 

Wednesday– Ran 2 miles
For the first time in while, I woke up and my knees didn’t hurt. I love, love this feeling!! Sorry, I don’t have a picture, my phone crashed on me Again. To say I was a little frustrated is an understatement.


 

ZR8

Thursday– 3 miles running
Well, I woke up this morning and my knees did not feel great. But I did come across a new machine at my gym. It’s the ZR8 Octane zero impact running machine. I thought I would give it a shot and was surprised with how everything felt while running. I learned quickly posture is very important when using this machine and if you don’t have good posture, you will end up hurting your knees. I also didn’t feel like I was using my ab muscles as much either. Overall, I would say this machine is nice when your knees hurt and I am going to count the mile as running miles. But I wouldn’t say this machine is exactly like running.


 

run

 

Friday– 3.5 miles running on zero impact machine.
My knees hurt after my chiropractic appointment on Thursday. But I needed to add milage so here I am using this machine again.


Saturday/Sunday– rest days. We had family in town for Easter

 

Overall– This week was one of my better weeks but still not great. I got on the scale and I am not happy with what I saw. To be honest, maybe I’ll never be happy with what I see.. But I’m taking this week as a success. I hope everyone else had a good week!!

 

 

The Trial Series (Trial Series #1-4)

The Trial Series

Author: Lizzy Ford
Published: March 9, 2016
Pages: 514

Stars: 1 out of 5

Synopsis:
One to love. One to lead. One to Fear. Leslie Kingmaker has three weeks to choose a leader for the supernatural community, find her soul mate and break a curse. To make matters worse, the three candidates vying for leadership and her heart – a werewolf, fae and vampire – won’t tell her what she needs to know to navigate the trials. One of them is supposed to betray her, and all she has to guide her is the obscure, rambling commentary in the Book of Secrets, an ancient tome that’s been in her family for two thousand years.

She soon discovers the candidates aren’t the ones on trial – she is. The family curse is a threat to the supernatural community, and the three candidates have sworn to do whatever it takes to break the curse, even if it means killing her. In a race to understand the ancient spell that befell her family, and struggling not to lose her heart to any of the sexy, brilliant men in the process, Leslie must defy the odds and end the curse if she is to survive the trials.

Review:

The story starts off right away outlining the problem and digging head first into it. But one of the things that bothers me is how little the author spends on details. Usually too many details drive me crazy because it takes away from the story. But in this case, there isn’t even enough details to make out what the characters look like. And this makes getting lost in the plot difficult because I can’t picture in my head what’s happening in the story. Eventually the author provides more detail but it would have been helpful to have more detail in the beginning.

The plot is actually really interesting and unique. At least I haven’t read a book similar, maybe you have? The book is simple and easy to read but the repetitive story plot begins to get old and the story begins to drag. At times I feel like the plot lacked depth or the author just said something that would have made a bigger impression is she showed it through actions. There was a lot of ‘telling’ throughout this book instead of “showing” and leading the reader to the conclusions the author wanted. The author is also really inconsistent with Leslie’s character. Leslie will say one thing, only to say the opposite two paragraphs later.

Looking at Leslie’s character, I really didn’t like her. From the start, it’s easy to see she is a complete mess- dependent on drugs, alcohol, and sex to drown her sorrows and escape reality. She is extremely selfish and although she is in her twenties, often acts like a young adolescent. Her interaction with all the men seems very similar without much setting her experience apart. I think the thing that really irritates me is her weakness, her dependence on everyone and everything, and inability to handle anything.  Throughout this book you learn that everyone had to sacrifice something to break this curse- everyone except Leslie. In my opinion, she didn’t lose anything compared to the others. Yes, her father died. Without giving too much away- what you learn later in the book shows that her father wasn’t himself and his death would have happened no matter what. Besides, his murder never was solved which I thought was a big deal to Leslie but ended up being another thing that doesn’t seem to matter.

Trial 1- Benjamin is a safe and comforting wolf. But he is also brooding, moody, and hurtful. The week Lesslie spends with him is an uncontrollable roller coaster. The whiplash from their extreme emotions both create anticipation and dread. I thought Leslie accepted his cruel remarks without much, if any, apology far too often and quickly. Ben is the worst with verbally expressing his emotions. His actions are nice but there was a part of me that wanted to scream, ‘Words, Ben! Use words!’ During the week Leslie was a wolf, I hated how she referee to her wolf as ‘Were-bitch’. It just bothered me.. The sex during this part of the book is complete alpha male, dominant sex. It was fun to read but it wasn’t anything too crazy.

Trial 2- Tristan is fae. He is sly, secretive, but compassionate, sweet, loyal, and has the biggest heart. Although he is hundreds of years older than Ben, he is also awkward and unsure when it comes to his bond with Leslie. At this point in the book, Leslie goes from the focus being the trials to her new focus is dating the trial guy for a week. She complains about not wanting to fall for the guys but the only time she is comfortable or feels like they are on even ground is when sex is involved. The sex with Tristan was softer and much slower. In other words, the complete opposite of Ben. It was sweet, semi-romantic sex.

Trial 3- Myca is an extremely old vampire who is upfront with Leslie but she doesn’t know how to take that. Ultimately, he is the most patient one of the three and guides Leslie into discovering the answers she seeks. This part of the book was really interesting with the blood-rights and what Leslie discovers. The sex in this section is all about bondage as Myca introduces Leslie into the softer side of BDSM. For some reason, I just find this cliche but I’m probably overthinking this. And for some really the author switches over to using the word pussy a lot. I found this slightly awkward because of how immature Leslie’s character was but how she would use such strong language. By this point into the book, secrets are coming out and the story is beginning to make more sense.

Trial 4- The last week of the trial is where she faces the curse who transitions from being a shadow into a more solid figure by the last day. By the end of the trial, the curse was so confusing that I am not sure what to think of him. I think the author was attempting to write in a way to mislead the reader so they don’t know if the curse is on her side or his own. But for me, it just ended up being inconsistent and confusing. I think if things were shown more through actions, instead of being told, this might have worked out better. Or maybe not.. In this section of the book, Leslie also figures out who her destined mate is. And he is everything she isn’t. If you a imagine her polar opposite, that’s him. Which didn’t make much sense to me. The only thing they had in common was movies but that isn’t much to build a relationship on. But the thing that really surprises me is how the author skips over the sex with her true mate. This book has a TON of sex in it, except for the end where everything is kind of skipped over.

Looking at the story as a whole, like I said there is a ton of sex and the plot is a little repetitive. With each trial, the similar things happen: she falls in love, has a ton of sex, comments about how she hasn’t felt this relaxed/good in a long time, something bad happens usually revolving an attempt on her life, and then she is saved. There were quite a few sentences that didn’t make sense and a lot of inconsistencies. I wanted to like this book but I just can’t.

Enough is Enough!!

When do you say enough is enough and throw in the towel? To be honest, I’m not sure it’s the same for everyone. But for me, I have reached that point where I realized I can’t keep going the route I am. I need help!

knee

Since I started running again, there has not been a day that my knee has not hurt. Usually I can just ignore the pain and move on with my day. But running has become a nightmare. The pain is bad and I struggle to get to three miles. Last summer I was running 11 miles and today I can’t even do 3.. It makes me want to cry. And to add insult to injury, I have gained 10 pounds and my jeans don’t fit. Now I really want to cry!

On Monday, I decided I needed to do something about it and I went to the chiropractic sports medicine facility at my gym. Talking to him, he things I have what is commonly known as runners knee but also I have muscles that have over developed and are pulling my tendons out of alignment. This is causing my cartilage in my knees to wear faster and causing pain.

sad face

He did a couple adjustments and gave me an exercise. Monday night my knee killed! I mean throbbing, impossible not to focus on pain. But all day yesterday, I was able to walk around, do yard work, etc without any pain. And this morning I ran 2 miles!! Ok, the two miles weren’t perfect but it wasn’t as bad as it usually is.

I really hope this works because my waste band can’t take much more and I just want to run. I want to be healthy and wear a damn two piece swimsuit this year!! Is that too much to ask..

So fingers crossed, I really hope this is the answer. If you have had any knee problems, please let me know what you have done to get over them. I could use all the help I can get 🙂

 

 

Omega (Omega #1)

Omega

Author: Lizzy Ford
Published: October 26, 2015
Pages: 490

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:
In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods. However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesied – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her. One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

Review:
3.5 stars, but I’m rounding up

It took a little bit for me to get into this book. I think this is because a lot of the same characteristics you see in other YA books were applied to this one. But after a while, the plot of the story captured my attention and I was enthralled with the characters desperation, discovery of love, deception, loss, and pain.

In order for Alessandra to bring a male home/see one, he must outrun her. Which is a difficult feat with her inhuman like agility and the beautiful nymphs stealing away anyone she is interested in. To say Lyssa’s life is odd is an understatement. Following the rules of her guardian, Herakles, she is miserable preparing for some end or something horrible to happen. So instead of having fun, she spends all her time training, running, hunting, and learning to build shelters out of nothing.

I’d say it’s not a far jump to assume she will rebel at some point. And when she does, ouch! Life as she knows it will never be the same. But the thing I don’t get and I see happen often in YA books, is why keep the heroine in the dark until the very last minute? This just boggles my mind. One- this plot line is predictable and overly done. Two- it always fails! And a part of me gets a little irritated with the character for not catching up or getting with the program fast enough once he/she is told the truth.

Lyssa’s character is a bit immature for her age. Supposedly she has had all this amazing training to handle any situation, fight, defend herself, etc. but she completely falls apart once Herakles is kidnapped. She becomes reckless and puts herself in extremely dangerous situations without a second thought. She gets mad that everyone calls her a kid and treats her like one even though she is 18. But I can’t help but feel they are justified. She is overwhelming nice, trusts too easily, and has the emotional maturity of a 14 year old. I do think it is funny that she is rough around the edges and extremely awkward but her name, Alessandra, sounds very pretty and makes me think someone with this name would be soft, petite, and fragile.

As the story continues, you can’t help but feel for Lyssa and the positions she finds herself in. Add that with a conflicted, brooding, handsome Adonis.. I don’t envy her. But Adonis is a fun character to read. Although sometimes a bit stiff and dull,  I love the connection between Lyssa and Adonis. And it’s exciting to see how their relationship develops.

As I am reading the story, I am completely lost in what’s going on, turning the pages eagerly to see what will happen next, only to come to the end of the book. WHAT! The book can’t end! There has to be more. I was a little disappointed with what I felt like an abrupt ending. Like I said, the book took me a while to get into but once I did, the story flew by. And just as everything was colliding together, it ends.. Not really a cliff hanger but there is a lot of unresolved issues.

Ok, so I ended up enjoying this book and I do want to read the next book in the series. This book is simple but entertaining. Although Lyssa can be a bit annoying with her immaturity, her morals and the willingness to stand for what she believes in is refreshing. I would say this book is ideal for younger adults- high school to mid twenties. I say this just because of the immaturity of Lyssa’s character and that some of her characteristics are difficult to relate to or understand. Overall, if you enjoy YA books, this is a good one to try 🙂