Monday, February 29, 2016

An extra day to get my act together...riiiiight ;)

A good idea in theory, right? In all honesty it would take more than one extra day in the year for me to get my act together ;)

 My plan was to use this day to get caught up on blogging...but as I sit here I have no idea what I want to talk about?

Running? 

Heartland 39.3 training has been going great! Like I mentioned last week I have changed my tactic and my goals. Rock the Parkway was my original goal race will now be used as a training run, along with the Garmin half. My new goal race is Running with the Cows on May 14th. 

I finally stopped winging it and found a training plan. With my goal being a sub 1:40 I knew I needed the right training plan. 2 years ago I used a version of Hal Higdon's half marathon training plan so I headed back to his site and found a plan for his Advanced half-marathon training plan. 

The best part of this plan is that it is 12 weeks long...and as of last Monday when I had planned on starting the plan was exactly 12 weeks out from race day...I mean...if that isn't a sign that I found the right plan, I don't know what is ;)

New Year's Resolutions?

Well...ummm...I *think* I have cooked 2 new recipes this month...but I am not 100% sure. We have been so good about finding new meals lately, but I haven't been keeping track. My goal over Spring Break is to put together a binder/notebook with recipes we have found online and that we like. My hope is that this will make meal-planning/grocery shopping easier :) 

4 books a month? 

Well as of today I have read 9 books...so it's safe to say I am killing it in that department :)

#Project366?

This is also going pretty well...I have had a few "slow" days or days that I wasn't sure what to take pictures of, but mostly I have done okay. My goal is to start using my Nikon a little more. I have been a little lazy as of late and depended mostly on my iPhone. 

Other...

We had the BEST weekend! 


 We celebrated an incredible couple at their wedding on Friday night :) 


 On Sunday we celebrated 7 months of marriage at KC Wine Co. and not only were the beverages on point...but the weather...ahhh...to.die.for! Thank you Kansas for this beautiful weather...and please, please, please stick around! 

Coming up?

T-minus 12 days and counting until the glorious week that is known as Spring Break #TeacherProblems


7 months

You guys...I have been married to this handsome guy for 7 whole months...and at the risk of sounding cheesy...each day it just gets better and better :)

This last month FLEW by...which in February doesn't bother me one bit. February happens to be my least favorite month of the whole year. My hatred for February stems from cold weather and snow...but this year mother nature granted us a pass and most of February was absolutely gorgeous! We spent plenty of time outside and being extremely thankful we didn't have to spend it shoveling snow :)

We started the month off with our super cool Super Bowl Party for Two!


Fresquilas + Taquitos = Super Bowl Party win!


I'm only here for the half-time show ;) Which I enjoyed for the first time in several years. I know some people were disappointed, but I thought it was fun...maybe it was the fresquilas and maybe it was Beyonce...one will never know :)


Due to the warm weather we spent many afternoons playing darts in the garage...I don't mean to brag...but I am pretty good ;)


We added a new member to the Smith family...Millie :)


We celebrated our first married Valentine's Day...and AJ attempted heart shaped egg in a basket. It may not look pretty...but it sure was delicious!


Happy Valentine's Day to me! Best.Gift.Ever!


And because we are fancy we went to Planet Sub for a romantic dinner for two!


Our plans for Valentine's Night were to try out this new monthly subscription box called Date Box...unfortunately we were a little underwhelmed with the creativity and the contents of the box
I get that it's Valentine's Day and the theme is love and stuff...but massage lessons via an online video (yes...that is a thing) and bars of chocolate and tea are not our idea of a "date night"
We decided to skip the Date Box and played scrabble instead ;)


We capped off our first married Valentine's Day with wine and the biggest chocolate covered strawberries I have ever seen...Thank you Russel Stover!

Valentine's Day has never really been our thing...but I have to say this was the best one yet!


We spent a night celebrating our dear friend Kim and brushing up on our bowling skills...mine could still use a bit of brushing ;)
Finally we capped off the month with our "Month 7 date" which might quite possibly be my favorite one yet.


We started our "date day" at Chilis with some delicious margaritas.


Then we decided that enchiladas and french fries do in fact pair well together :)


After lunch we hopped in the car to head to KC Wine Co. 75 degrees in February and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch? A sign of a great day to come!


KC Wine Co. has been open since last summer, but this was our first visit...and definitely not our last!


We started with a wine tasting...AJ tested out all the reds and I stuck with the whites.


After that we bought a bottle of wine for AJ and a wine slush for me and headed outside to enjoy the perfect weather!


Cheers to 7 months and the PERFECT day!
Friday, February 19, 2016

Setbacks, Frustrations, and a Change of Plans


49 days? 49 short days until my first race of the Heartland 39.3 series...my "goal" race. The race in which I wanted to get a PR and run a sub 1:40 half marathon.

As I sit here today...I know for a fact that I won't be ready. I know that I have had some set backs in the last month in a half that took me off track and have left me nowhere near my ideal "race shape" 

I would like to say I am devastated...but that isn't quite the case. Of course I am disappointed...but for some reason or another I seem to have lost a bit of my "fire" and motivation. 

The last month in a half has found me sick or not feeling well more days than not. While I am not a fan of excuses...here I am making them. I can push through a lot of things...I can fit workouts into the busiest of schedules...but what I can do is push my tired worn out body to do things it just refuses to do.

I have mostly maintained my weekly mileage, but my pace...ick....let's not go there. Let's just say that my goal race pace of 7:30 min miles is a long shot at this point.

For awhile I thought about just throwing in the towel and just running the series for fun...and for the sweet 3rd year finishers jacket ;) 

However, that is not me...I'm competitive...I like to push myself...I like to set goals....and now that I am feeling mostly better I have decided to pick up the intensity of my workouts starting now.

I knew going into these races that I wasn't going to make all 3 races "goal races" and that I was just going to pick one to try and run a sub 1:40...and then take the other 2 a little easier.

Does it have to be Rock the Parkway? No...absolutely not. I chose that race in the beginning because it was the first one and I figured I would be in tip top shape at that point and wouldn't have to worry about being run down from the other races. 

Since I won't be ready for RTP on April 9th I have decided to make Running with the Cows on May 14th my goal race.

This gives me an extra month to get ready...I can use Rock the Parkway and Garmin as training runs and truly set myself up for success in May :)

I'm feeling much better about things now...although I have to admit I am a little worried that I still won't be ready. Being sick has made it really hard to enjoy running...especially running fast...so I am hoping to see a major shift in my attitude and desire in the next week or so...Wish me luck!
Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Runner Awakens, Virtual Run {GIVEAWAY!}

Confession time...

My motivation...is at an all time low right now. I'm a little less than 2 months out from the first race in the Heartland 39.3 series and I am struggling....big time.

I have found myself thinking about throwing in the towel...not quitting necessarily...but maybe letting go of my goal of a sub 1:40...and just running the races "for fun" and not worrying about my finish time.

That above statement is so not me...but those thoughts have been swirling through my mind the last few weeks and I have been struggling with what to do to fight them.

I started thinking about my last two spring training sessions and thinking about what kept me motivated and focused on my goal...and I realized it was running races...having mini goals in between kept me interested and motivated to keep running and keep pushing. 

But here's the thing...racing can get expensive and time consuming.

My solution....A VIRTUAL RACE!

I am sure many of you are thinking...what the heck is a virtual race? 

A virtual race is a race that can be run any where at any time. It can be run with a group of people, solo, or with a friend...You can run on a treadmill, a track, or on the open road.

Virtual races are gaining popularity because of the motivation it offers, the convenience, and the price. 

Not only do I need the motivation of a virtual race very soon...but a virtual run has been something on my "running bucket list" for a few years now....so I figured now is as good a time as any to check this item off my list :) 

Luckily for me the wonderful Travis over at SLS3 emailed me a few days ago about a company they sponsor Level Up Virtual Runs

He offered me a discounted race entry for their upcoming race "The Runner Awakens" and honestly...I couldn't say yes fast enough...I mean seriously...a Star Wars themed virtual run? 

And look at this medal?

Register HERE
 
Please tell me I am not the only one who runs chooses to run races based on the bling? ;) 

After doing a little more research I was able to see how amazing this company really is. Level Up Virtual Runs is a company run by runners who not only want to create an alternate way for people to race without getting up at 4AM; but to offer up a way to keep runners motivated during their training for their bigger races coming up. 

The coolest thing about this company for me is that they donate a portion of their profits to schools who are struggling financially to keep their sports programs alive. As a teacher and runner/athlete this is a cause I really want to get behind.

After registering myself, I reached out to Brad at Level Up and asked if it would be okay for me to give away a FREE registration to one of my readers....and of course he said yes :) 

So if you are interested in running a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, full marathon, or ultra (if you are crazy) virtual run between Feb. 15th-Feb. 29th visit my FACEBOOK PAGE and make sure to leave a comment telling me what your thoughts are on virtual runs and which distance you would run if you are selected as the winner!

Registration for this race ends soon (Sunday, Feb. 14th) so I will be randomly selecting a winner tomorrow evening so we can get you registered and ready to go by Sunday! 

If you aren't selected as a winner you registration for the race is only $25...and not only do you get a sweet Star Wars medal, but you will also receive a $25 gift certificate to SLS3...and from experience I can tell you that their calf sleeves and fuel belt are incredible!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Word: Triumphant

Triumphant [trahy-uhm-fuh nt]

Adjective 

1. Having achieved victory or success; victorious; successful.
 
2. Exulting over victory; rejoicing over success; exultant.


I often get asked "Why do you run?" which is then usually followed by the person asking me this question admitting that they would only run if there were being chased ;)

I have to chuckle...because I get it. I get that not everyone likes to run...and I get that people think I am crazy for paying to run 26.2 miles...for fun ;)

However, I wish I could put into words is my "WHY" 
I wish I could put into words the feeling you get after running a distance you've never run before...the thrill of getting a PR, or the euphoria you feel as you cross the finish line of your first...and second marathon. 

A word that comes close to describing those feelings for me is triumphant...
The word triumphant is such a powerful word because it doesn't mean "winning" or "beating someone else" it means success and victory and celebrating in that.
Running has given me many triumphant moments that had nothing to do with winning or beating anyone else...


Crossing the finish line of the Rock the Parkway half marathon for the 2nd time was one of the most triumphant moments in running I have ever had. In 2014...I let RTP defeat me...it was my first half-marathon and I had trained my ass off only to hit a wall and limp across the finish line feeling defeated. 
In 2015...not only did I avoid that dreaded wall...but I beat my time from the year before (by over 10 minutes) and ran a sub 1:45 half marathon (1:42) 


Running my first marathon was another moment of triumph for me...especially that humbling moment after I crossed the finish line and realized how many people I have in my life that love me and support my crazy running adventures :)


Crossing the finish line of the freaking Chicago Marathon and realizing I hit my goal of running a sub 4 marathon...talk about feeling triumphant.

So I guess I can say my "WHY" is for those moments...those times where I felt triumphant. However, not all of my triumphant moments are shiny and pretty...and that feeling of triumph isn't immediate...
Like those moments when I wanted to quit...but didn't...the moments where I pushed through a tough run...the moments where I  got up at 4AM instead of sleeping in...those times I sacrificed a fun night out with friends for an early morning long run...those unseen moments where for the moment frustration or exhaustion win out over the feeling of triumph...

However...the great thing about running is...those moments don't last and those moments of triumph...those feelings as you cross the finish line...those moments of indescribable joy...they win out every time...and they are worth every second of pain.

So tell me...what makes you feel triumphant?



Today I am linking up with Deb over at Deb Runs for her weekly "Wednesday's Word" link-up! Check out her post and many others...and even add your own :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday morning coffee date...

Good morning! Happy Monday :) 

The Ultimate Coffee Date

Today I am linking up with Coco at Running With Perserverance, Deborah at Confessions Of A Mother Runner, and Lynda at Fitness Mom Wine Country for their monthly Ultimate Coffee Date! 



If we were having coffee...

I would tell you that I don't like coffee and that I am drinking green tea instead :) 

If we were having coffee...

I would tell you that I really enjoyed last night's Superbowl halftime show...and can't stop chanting "Puppy Monkey Baby"

If we were having coffee...

I would tell you that today I feel like a whole new woman! Last week I was fighting the flu/cold/sickness and had zero energy..and today (despite staying up a little later than normal last night and indulging in one too many "fresquilas") my energy has returned! 

If we were having coffee...

We might discuss the book I am currently reading..."Fates and Furies" I would likely tell you that it is making me feel stupid because the way it's written. I am only comprehending/understanding about 3/4 of the book...and that is being generous. I was told that it starts slow (understatement of the century) but gets better...I'm still waiting ;)

If we were having coffee...

I would brag to you about my dart playing skills ;)  


While I have lost more times than I have won...I have hit the bulls-eye quite a few times and yesterday I scored 100 points in one turn! BOOM! #DartQueen

If we were having coffee...

I would tell you that I have a short week (and conferences) at school and I can't wait for my 4 day weekend! 

If we were having coffee...

I would apologize for having to make this brief, but I have a million things to get done today! 

Let's do this again next month :)

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Training Tuesday: A Day Late...A Dollar Short


Anyone else feeling like this lately? Seriously, if I haven't dropped one ball...I have dropped another ;) 

I totally forgot about Training Tuesday...it might have been because of Pride Night at my school and working an almost 12 hour day yesterday...or it could be that I am feeling kind of bored with these posts...either way those are my excuses and I am sticking to it!

I'm usually pretty good about posting my workouts on social media...here, here, and sometimes here

Posting it again on the blog is starting to feel redundant...

Plus, I am a faithful blog follower of many running blogs and I will tell you the first thing I do when I read a "Training Tuesday, Training Recap, etc" is black out and just scroll through looking at the pictures. 

Don't get me wrong...I like to know what my other runner friends are training for...and how it's going...but in a blog post it's harder for me to concentrate...

SQUIRREL! 


So, if you are dying to know what I am doing training wise, check out one of the links above and I will bore you to death with gym selfies, watch and treadmill pics, and all the details of my daily sweat sessions.

January Book Review

As you know...2016 will forever be known as the year of one million New Year's Resolutions/Goals/Intentions. One of my more ambitious intentions is to read one book a week in 2016...totaling 52 books!

Last year I set a goal to read 2 books per month (24 for the year)...and while I cut it close a few of the months in the end I killed my goal. Thank you winter break ;)
Goodreads1
41 books?!? Considering the year before I probably read about 5...this is pretty amazing! Last year I made more of a conscious effort to make the time to read...I set aside specific times for reading. I find myself spending so much time mindlessly browsing social media...that all it took was me making a effort to put my phone down after about 10 minutes and pick up my book instead.

When I look back through my book list from last year I get excited about certain books, I feel sad that some are over, and some I think...ick...I can't believe I even forced myself to finish that book...but mostly I feel happy. I have always loved reading and by pushing myself to read more last year I re-found that love/passion.


As a part of this year's intention to read 52 books I also want to share what I read...what I thought of it...and what I plan on reading for the next month through a monthly blog post. I have always loved getting book suggestions and discussing what I read with other people. So definitely comment with any book suggestions or your thoughts on any of the books that you have read too!

As I sit down to write this post...I'm kind of shocked...and maybe a little embarrassed? When I made this goal towards the end of 2015 I thought I was setting myself up for failure...and now I look at the month of January...and I have read...wait for it...are you sitting down?

12 books....


What? How in the hell did I read 12 books in one month? Don't ask me...I have no idea. I was a reading machine...I choose to blame the cold weather and my TV shows being on winter break ;) I have also been forced to the treadmill for many of my training runs this month...and reading on the treadmill is the only way I can keep my sanity :)

Without further ado...here are January's books!



A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch. 

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My thoughts

You guys...this book...sigh...I could not put it down and was sad when it ended. I have read 3 of Sarah Jio's books and each time I finish one I have a new favorite. I just love the way she is able to intertwine multiple story lines and narrators and make it come together in the end so beautifully!



When small lies have big consequences…

Things are a little rough for Izzy Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends—and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman—Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.

Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? Then, her blog soars in popularity and she’s given the opportunity to moonlight as an online dating expert. How can she turn it down? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in-real-life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are. That’s when Mrs. Feldman steps in, determined to show her neighbor the havoc that lies can wreak. If Izzy’s honest, she could lose everything, and everyone. Is the truth worth any cost?

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My thoughts

Eh...I could take it our leave it with this one. While I liked that it was an easy "beach read" I also felt that it lacked any depth. I felt like when I started reading the story I had started a few chapters in and missed something in the beginning. Izzy's blog and "fake boyfriend" felt awkward and out of place in the story...and then her "problems" seemed so easy to fix. Tell the truth, right? The character in the story made what my dad likes to call "a mountain out of a mole-hill"




Thirty-six-year-old Emma Rae Travis has been baking specialty cakes and melt-in-your-mouth pastries at The Backstreet Bakery in historic Roswell, just outside of Atlanta, for the last six years. But here s the rub about her job as a baker Emma is diabetic. When she tastes her creations, it can only be in the most minute portions. Emma is considered an artisan for the stunning creme brulee wedding cake that won her the Passionate Palette Award last year, but she s never even had one full slice of it. When Jackson Drake hears about this local baker who has won a prestigious award for her wedding cake artistry, he tells his assistant to be sure and include her in the pastry tastings scheduled at his new wedding destination hotel the following week. And for Jackson, that particular day has started out badly with two workmen trapped in a broken elevator and a delivery of several dozen 300-thread-count bed linens in the wrong size abandoned in the lobby. But when the arrogant baker he met a week prior in Roswell stumbles into the dining room with a platter of pastries and a bucketful of orders, he knows for certain: It s going to be a really rotten day. Can these two ill-suited players master the high-wire act and make a go of their new business venture? Or will they take each other crashing downward, without a net? And will the surprise wedding at The Tanglewood be theirs?"


As a wedding planner, you'd thinkshe would have the perfect wedding experience...
SherilynCaine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details.
But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance?


My thoughts

I'm combining these two books because they are part of a series. These are definitely what I would define as mindless "beach reads" which was great for me because I read them while running on the treadmill. There wasn't a lot of depth to the characters or the story line and parts of it were pretty ridiculous (in a funny way)...but overall I really enjoyed both books and they did their job of distracting me while I was on the treadmill. There are 2 more in the Emma Rae Creations series and while I am not chomping at the bit to read them...I most definitely will.



A clear-eyed, emotionally honest debut about a thirtysomething woman forced to redefine her entire world after her young marriage falters, Love or Something Like It proves we can grow up at any age.

When Lacey Brennan meets Toby, a sweet and talented comedian, she impulsively moves across the country to be with him in Los Angeles. Lacey is unsure of what she is looking for out west—love? a new career? an escape from her fractured family?—but is reassured when Toby proposes on her thirtieth birthday. “I was thirty and I finally knew what I was doing,” she says.

In California, which Lacey calls “the edge of the earth,” she has the giddy, anticipatory feeling that anything can happen—opportunity looms large, and her life may yet turn out the way she wants it to. But soon in her marriage with Toby, from their awkward honeymoon in Paris to their desperate attempts to build careers, Lacey knows that something is wrong. Toby, unemployed, becomes a permanent fixture on the couch, and things are no better at Lacey’s TV job, where a pit bull stalks her, colleagues tyrannize her, and her boss hits on her. Meanwhile, her twin brother has dropped off the face of the earth, and Lacey begins to wonder whether she and Toby should start a family if she can’t even figure out her own. It is only after Lacey has given up on both L.A. and love that she gets an unexpected shot at happiness.

Rich with wry humor and wisdom, Deirdre Shaw’s novel deftly portrays a relatable, unforgettable character in Lacey Brennan, who, after a five-year quest for love and belonging, finds she must live in the moment in order to understand her past and face her future.

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My thoughts

This was one of 2 books I considered not finishing this month...The story line drug on and on and on...with no end in site...and with really no story to tell. The author took a LONG time to tell a very basic story. I felt as if the story were being told by a confused, love-sick, teenager. Basically...of all the books I read this month, this was one of my least favorites. However, after reading some of the other reviews on Goodreads I am in the minority...so I suppose you can decide :)


Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can't get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley's second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who's playing Santa at the inn's annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley's ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

 Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflecting on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley, now single, at least is on better terms with his first wife Margaret, who is using her celebrity to lure customers to the inn in record numbers. Their son Kevin has a beautiful new baby, Genevieve, with the Inn's French housekeeper, Isabelle; and their daughter, Ava, is finally dating a nice guy--her devoted colleague, Scott.

Now the Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve's baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket's traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley's estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn's former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn't the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it's going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns--and the inn--through the holidays intact.

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My thoughts

I can't figure out how I feel about Elin Hilderbrand...I had heard rave reviews from many people and after reading Nantucket Nights in December I was a little disappointed. I didn't want to give up so quickly so then I read Beautiful Day which was MUCH better.

 Winter Street and Winter Stroll (part of a series) came very highly recommended and I read them one after the other because of the cliff-hanger at the end of Winter Street. I can't say I am "in love" with these books...but I also can't say I hated them. I read them both on the treadmill and while it kept me distracted while running...I also wasn't dying to jump on the treadmill to read. These were easy, humorous, quick reads...not sure I will read the 3rd and final book in this series. We shall see :)





A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.

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My thoughts

If you have seen this book and have heard it being compared to "Gone Girl" please let go of that preconceived notion. Yes...this story is about a husband and wife (told in alternating narrators)...yes it's a dark story line with a few twists...but that is pretty much where the similarities end. That being said...I still LOVED it! I couldn't put this book down. The first chapter starts out basically telling you the ending, but you spend the entire book trying to figure exactly HOW it got there. 



A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?


My thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The cover and the description didn't necessarily draw me in...yea, yea...I know...don't judge a book by it's cover...but I do, okay! I read this book on a recommendation and boy am I glad I did! I worried for the first few chapters that I would struggle to stay interested in this book...but turns out I had the complete opposite problem. I read this book in one day...I couldn't put it down. An incredible story told from 3 different perspectives that lead to a heartbreaking twist in the end that I never saw coming. I would say this was one of my favorite books from the month. 


Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus. Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.


My thoughts

Speaking of favorite books from January...this book...you guys...I'm at a loss for words at how to describe it. I decided to check this book out from the library because I had read "Still Alice" years ago and thought I would read another one of Lisa Genova's books...and boy am I glad I did. This book deals with such a heavy (yet interesting subject matter) and really put into perspective the things in life that really matter. This was definitely a heart-wrenching yet inspiring story. I would recommend it to anyone 10 times over! 

 

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

My thoughts

This was another book that surprised me this month. It came HIGHLY recommended and several of my friends had read it and loved it...but for some reason I was skeptical. Not sure if it was the description or what...but I went into it not sure I would like it. The first few chapters were tough for me...the narrator switches between a few different people, but a few chapters in I finally had all my characters straight. I love a story with a "twist" and if you are the same...this is the book for you! Some of the reviews I read on Goodreads said they felt the book was predictable...which in a way it was...but in a way it wasn't...make sense? Predictable or not, this book is definitely worth a read! 

 Told with Beth Harbison's wit and warmth, If I Could Turn Back Time is the fantasy of every woman who has ever thought, "If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I'd do things so differently..."

Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can't ignore the fact that she isn't necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty.

On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off...

Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance...It's her mother: "Wake up! You're going to be late for school again. I'm not writing a note this time..."

Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she's lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she'll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?

 Source

 My thoughts

Remember how I mentioned there were 2 books I considered not finishing this month...well this was one of them. In a word...this book...dumb. I love a light-hearted, easy read...but this was just strange. Ramie Phillips "goes back in time" or "is she dreaming?" and spends several weeks in her 18 year old body thinking about how her life could be different if she had made different decisions. She decides to make some changes...and then "butterly effect" style she is 8 years in the future seeing how miserable she is...then bam...she wakes up. It felt like a disjointed..."and then I woke up story" that one of my third graders would write. Easily my least favorite book of the month. I would feel guilty suggesting this to anyone.



 So there you have it...January's books! Some good...some bad...and others...I can't wait to read again!


February is going to be a busy reading month...I had several books on hold at the library and of course...they all came in at the same time! Obviously, I have finished "The Husbands Secret" and "If I Could Turn Back Time" (yes...I had that book on hold...what?!) but in the meantime 3 more books became available and one e-book.

I'm currently reading

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20484545-it-was-me-all-along

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11045709-when-she-woke


and on my "To be read" list for the month is...


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10032672-the-language-of-flowers?from_search=true&search_version=service 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15507958-me-before-you?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15839976-red-rising?from_search=true&search_version=service

 And don't worry...I have "paused" off my holds for the time being. Having them all come in at the same time put me in a panic...TOO MANY BOOKS, TOO LITTLE TIME!