Week 7- Ugh!!

Monday I decided to take a workout class. One of my favorite instructors came up to me and suggested the class because she knows I have weak knees and need to strengthen them. The class was an hour long and it was unbelievably hard. But the focus was on my knees, core, and back. It sucked, but it was good for me.

Tuesday– I tried running. The key word there was try. I was aiming for three miles but I was so unbelievably sore from Monday’s class that I struggled to do two.

running

Wednesday and Thursday I took off because I could barely walk.

Friday– I went to the gym and I was able to get three miles in plus lift some weights. Whoop! Whoop!

Saturday and Sunday– I spent the day in the back yard working. I dug holes, filled in holes, moved dirt around, rocks from the front to the back yard, took a couple trees down, and dug out roots. My back kills but the yard is starting to look like an actual yard.

Overall- 5 miles this week and I’m disappointed in myself once again. Maybe some day I can actually run like I want…

 

Writing, Erasing, Rewriting.. Does it ever stop?

This week has been a success and a disaster. I was Finally able to wrap up chapter 5 and made significant progress with chapter six. But instead of moving forward with this progress, I stated going back through my story and changing, rewriting, cutting, adding, etc. with everything I have already done. I know this process needs to happen, but I fear that if I will be spending far too much time doing this then actually getting the story on paper.

First question is: Is it better to push through and write the story in it’s entirety before you start revising, adding, cutting, and whatnot? Or do you do a little bit of this along the way?

I think a part of me spends so much time rewriting as opposed to extending my story because I have no idea if what I am writing is garbage or if there is actually something there.

Second question: How do you know if you are actually a good writer? Do you let someone read what you have written so far and get feedback? And if so, where do you find these people?

For me, this is one of the scariest things- putting myself out there and letting someone read my story. For me it’s not just the fear they won’t like it, but what if they judge me based on what I write? So I often wonder, maybe I should find someone who isn’t a friend and have them read my story. But with this thought brings the fear that someone would steal my idea. Ugh, what to do, what to do…

I Wish you Were Mine (Oxford, #2)

Romance

Author: Lauren Layne
Published: February 2, 2016
Pages: 260

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Review:
Normally I don’t write what my first impression of the book was but the prologue has me a little baffled. While I’m reading it, all I can think is ‘please don’t let this book be a sappy love story where the main character has unbelievable low self esteem.’ And then you read the last sentence in this section and I had to stop and put the book down. The entire conversation between Molly and Jackson has a different meaning and just Wow..

Mollie and Jackson’s story is complicated and dramatic. There is nothing simple about what they go through but it is highly  entertaining to read.
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Jackson is a 37 year old NFL star. Personally, I’ve never been the type to be attracted to professional sports players. But the way he is described is little mouth watering delicious. Fast forward and Jackson is a walking shell of his former self. My heart just ached for him and everything he went through. Especially everything with his ex-wife, Madison. Did I mention said ex-wife is Mollie’s sister and Mollie has been in love with Jackson from the very beginning of her sisters marriage to Jackson.
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Jackson is the definition of a tortured male. He is charming, smart, loving, yet he carries his demons on his shoulders. He went from confident star football player to a journalist who is completely unsure of himself, uncomfortable in a suit and his own skin, and so lonely. His ex-wife ruined his reputation and Jackson’s low self-esteem keeps him from correcting the lies she told everyone.
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And then there’s Mollie. Mollie has always been there for Jackson. Even though he was married to her sister, she was the one he went to for help, support, and friendship. Mollie struggles with her attraction to Jackson knowing she shouldn’t want him but unable to stop. Mollie is the nerdy science girl who talks about mating rituals when she gets nervous. She is the complete opposite of the type of girl Jackson would normally go for. But somehow, she has transformed into the sexy girl next door and everything Jackson needs. Unfortunately, her manipulative sister tries extremely hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
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Oh, the drama. Normally I don’t want this much drama in the books I read but surprisingly (well, I guess knowing who the author is, maybe not) I was addicted to the book from the very beginning. I couldn’t put the book down and finished it in a couple hours. The flow of the book was amazing and the chemistry between Mollie and Jackson is hot. And the sex was exciting and enticing to read.
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Although this isn’t a favorite book, this series is one of my go-to’s when I’m looking to read a fun romance.

The Undoing (Call of Crows #2)

The Undoing 2

Author: Shelly Laurenston
Published: March 29, 2016
Pages: 400

Stars: 3.5 our of 5

Synopsis:
No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!

Review:
I had no idea this was book two in the series. I am a little disappointed I didn’t get the chance to read the first book because I am sure I would enjoy it. With that said, I think this book could be read as a stand-alone but if you get the chance/have the time to read the first one in the series, I would!

The story starts off fast and gruesome. The details of how the Crows attack is not exactly pleasant. The open violence in this book paired with the different characteristics is almost comical. I found myself smiling and thinking to myself- yep, if a crow could talk, I bet that’s how they would act or what they would say.
The first chapter introduces a lot of characters but the focus is on the Crows, mainly Jace, and the Protectors, mainly Ski. The way their relationship develops is a little painful to read but sweet if not fast.
Jace is a little odd in how she sneaks around in order to be left alone. As she explains, it’s not that she doesn’t like people, she just prefers to not be around them. I would say Jace is as introverted as you can get when she isn’t letting her rage take over. But the author makes it a point to show that she isn’t shy. Jace’s character really transforms throughout this book and she finds her spot amongst the protectors. There were aspects about her life that the author didn’t go into enough detail about and make the plot a little confusing.
Ski is sweet but can bring out a more aggressive side of himself, especially during sex. He is an extreme book worm and absolutely adores Jace. His character pretty much stayed the same throughout the book. He didn’t open up or grow like Jace’s character did. The middle of the book started to drag some and I thought some of the conversation between Ski and Jace weren’t really necessary. It was already well established they both are obsessed with books, history, and are really smart. You need pages and chapters full of conversation to make this point. The ending of the book was exciting and I really enjoyed the final battle.
The explanation for her grandmother was a bit far fetched and you can probably say that about a couple other things throughout the story. But overall it wasn’t terribly over the top. The one thing that I didn’t like was the transitions, or lack there of, the author used when switching character perspective. I think his could have been done better and would have made the book crisper and easier to read. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book and want to read the sequel.

 

WEEK 6- Not a great week

Monday: I took today off because my knee was killing me from everything I did last week.


Tuesday: 3 miles
Thank you map my run for once again crashing while I am using you. I am so frustrated!! I decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run outside on such a beautiful day. So after I dropped my son off at school, I took the jogging stroller and my youngest out for a run along the paved trails. Running while pushing a jogging stroller when you aren’t used to it is kind of difficult. It took me a while to get into my zone and when I finally reached it, I was pushed out due to the tree removal along the paths.

And then for my app to not work.. this was a much needed run but not my best. First off, I really hate when things don’t work and you depend on them to. Second, this was the final straw to push me to buy a running watch. Luckily, I took the same path I ran on Sunday so I know I at least ran 3 miles. I might have been more but who knows.


 

Wednesday: Gosh, I seriously could have used the run today!! Cleaning after a very sick dog was not on my agenda for the day. Here’s my post if you want to check it out. It’s slightly heartbreaking. Did I ever tell you…


 

Thursday- Friday
Still dealing with the aftermath of my dog 😦


 

Saturday
My dog died this morning. Such a horribly sad day! But we threw ourselves into yard work and gardening. My husband had to bleach both the front yard and the back yard. We dug up a couple roots (which was extremely hard but helped quiet the mind), transplanted a couple flowers, created a rock boundary, and prepared the garden. By the end of the day, my mind and emotions were better under control. Sorry the picture isn’t that great, I forgot to take one while I was outside and then it started raining.

garden


Sunday:
Unfortunately, we are still cleaning up from my puppy. The virus he had is extremely contagious and can only be killed with bleach. So today I am spending all day bleaching the floors with a diluted solution and the bedroom walls. Today will not be a fun day but I am ready and more importantly need to move on. But I can’t do that until all the cleaning is done and everything he used has been thrown away. Such a sad day..

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

Fire Touched

Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: March 8, 2016
Pages: 352

Stars: 3 out of 5

Synopsis:
Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.
Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

Review:
This is another one of my favorite series. But most, if not all, of the covers in this series I really don’t like. I don’t think they are very flattering but in a way they go with Mercy’s character- rough around the edges but strong.

The beginning of this book is slow, in fact a lot of this book is slow. But once the story picks up, it’s not bad. Mercy’s character is one of those characters who can’t help herself but stand up for the unfortunate, the helpless, and the weak. She finds herself in more trouble and honestly, I don’t know if it’s just bad luck or bad fea. But what draws me to this series, to her character, is her strength and her courage. She doesn’t ask to be the hero. In fact, she would prefer the world forgot about her.
I really wish I liked this book more. Maybe my expectations were too high (possibly), but I think compared to the other books in this series, this one just falls short. The playfulness between Adam and Mercy was entertaining and sweet. And by Adam making a stand for his wife within the pack, that eliminated all drama from the series. And I hate to admit it but I kind of enjoyed the drama. The book kind of just feel a little flat after that.
Like I mentioned, I felt like the plot behind this book was different than the others in their series. The books prior to this all seemed to flow from one book to the next, the actions/drama in the previous book led to the next and so on. But more importantly, the action/drama made sense with what was happening in Mercy’s life. With Fire Touched, I didn’t feel like that was the case. The problem that came up seemed mild and I felt like the answer was almost handed over to them.
Overall, the story was good but it wasn’t great. Maybe the next one will be better or maybe the series needs to come to an end. Who knows…

Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires, #12)

Midnight Marked

Author: Chloe Neill
Published: March 1, 2016
Pages: 368

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
Merit is one of Chicago’s most skilled vampire warriors; these days, she doesn’t scare easily. But she and Master vampire Ethan have made a new and powerful enemy, and he won’t give up until he owns the Windy City.

With his last plan thwarted, he’s more determined than ever to watch Cadogan burn. Ethan has put the House’s vampires on high alert, but their enemy will stop at nothing, including pitting vampire against vampire…

In this deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the stakes are life or death—and winning might mean sacrificing everything…

Review:

I think it’s a safe bet that if you’ve made it to book 12 in the series, you’re probably into the series. Which of course I am. This is one of my favorite series and I have been waiting a long time for this book to come out. With that said, I should have read book eleven before starting this book. It has been just long enough that some of ‘issues’ leading into this book are a bit fuzzy. But to my delight, the author (as usual) does a decent job of recapping what you really need to know. Still, I probably should have retread the previous book. And I apologize that this review will be different from the normal ones I write. I am a bit bias and am emotionally invested in the series. That makes writing a review a little difficult, but I will try my best

We all love our vampire- Sentinel of Cadogan house- Merit. She is strong, feisty, loyal, amazing with a sward, has high connections, but also has realistic human flaws. In this book, her story really comes full circle for her. Her father is put into harms way which makes her realize she wants to try and have a relationship with him. But more important, she faces the vampire who forced Ethan’s hand and made her into a vampire. Emotions run high and I couldn’t help but love every minute of this.

Ethan is,as usual, a hot alpha male with a strong protective side. His character has really grown through this series and I have loved watching the verbal and sometimes physical matches between him and Merit. In a way, this book wasn’t really focused on Ethan. The story really revolved around Merit but also their relationship.

Ethan and Merits relationship really is perfect. They balance each other out and know exactly what the other person needs, even when they don’t think they need it. They both show vulnerabilities and finally learn to accept they can lean on the other person.

This is one book/series where I definitely don’t want to give too much away. I love this series because it’s unpredictable and the plot twists are bitter sweet with the promise of action, love, death, and sometimes all three. And the end of the book was utterly perfect. This book (series) is one that draws you in and before you know it, the book is over and you feel a little sad because you feel connected with characters.

Yes, there are times when the book gets a little drawn out or slightly repetitive. But overall, the book is a fantastic read and I am going to be so sad to see it end soon. If you haven’t given this series a chance, you need to. The series is full of sassiness, strong heroines, action, human rights issues, friendship, pain, loss, love, and acceptance.

Did I ever tell you…

Did I ever tell you I have the worst luck with dogs? No, well let me explain. The first dog my husband I had was a beautiful loving dog named Sadie.

Sadie

Unfortunately she developed a really rare disease- Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia- where my dogs immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack its own red blood cells. It is unbelievably painful and heartbreaking to watch your dog go through this and know there is nothing you can do. Sadie died at the age of two when I was pregnant with my first son.

My husband and I decided to jump back in and get another dog before the baby came. We went a slightly different route with a blue healer named Nutmeg.

Nutmeg

Unfortunately she developed another rare blood disease- Systemic Autoimmune Disease- where the white blood cells attacked her organs, tissue, and cells. She also died at the age of two and while I was pregnant with my second child.

After this, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t watch another dog suffer and go through the pain of having to say goodbye. After a couple of years without a dog, we decided to try it again. Meet Comet:

This love came into our life on Friday and is 9 weeks old. But he is already really sick. Last night he started vomiting all over the place and refused to eat/drink. To be honest, I stopped counting after the 10th vomit. So I packed the kids up and took the dog to the vet. They gave him a shot, fluids, and some food. When I got home, he was a little interested in water but not food. Starting around 10:00pm, was when everything went south. And I’m talking about projectile diarrhea, vomit, the works. Oh and did I mention my husband is out of town for the week on business.. Yep, it’s just me, a three year old, a fourteen month old, and a very sick dog. I feel like there should be a joke somewhere in there but there’s not.

I took Comet back to the vet today and found out he has two parasites-guardia and coccidia, pink eye, and parvo virus. Which surprise, surprise is really rare to get. So now my dog is at the hospital fighting for his life because there is no antibiotics for this virus. He either has the immune system to survive it or he doesn’t. And I have been scrubbing my house from top to bottom trying to clean up any residue left from last night. Because if he does survive this, I don’t want him to come back in contact with the virus because I didn’t clean something well enough.

I’m exhausted, emotional, and have cried a lot today. What I really needed was a solid run but that just wasn’t in the cards for me. Maybe tomorrow.

Update 3/12
Comet didn’t make it. He died this morning from the Parvo Virus. It has been a terrible week! But now we, I, must move on. 

Help Buying a Running Watch!!

Today pushed me over the edge. While doing a much needed run, Map my run app decided to crash on me and I lost everything for my workout. I had no idea how far I went or what my pace was. Frustration doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel.

So I have decided I need to buy a running watch. I’m going to bite the bullet and spend the money. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have an idea of what I want but I’m not 100% sold.

If you are a runner, what sports watch do you use?