Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Book Review

These days I am reading more than ever...


however, 99% of the time this guy chooses the books...and let's just say we read a lot of the same books over and over...and OVER again :)

I can't say that I mind though...being a reader myself, it makes me so happy to see my little guy enjoying reading as much as I do...let's just hope he always has a love of books!

January always seems to be a pretty good month for me reading wise. The cold weather and my favorite shows being on winter break always ensures I will have a little extra time to read.

This month I read two books and I am so excited to share them with you!

The first book I read is one I have seen LOTS of rave reviews about. It was on the list for best books in 2017 on Goodreads and highly recommended by so many people. I had it on hold at the library for several months, but put a pause on the hold because I really wasn't excited about it. You see, I read Ng's book "Everything I Never Told You" awhile back and was less than impressed. It was painfully slow to get through (even though I liked the storyline) and I was afraid I would have the same issue with this book.

While I was not a huge fan of her other book...this one totally redeemed her in my eyes. I was immediately captivated by the Richardson family and their interesting dynamic. Shaker Heights is a town where everything is picture perfect and planned out, and when Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl come to town they immediately shake things up. The story (like so many of the stories I enjoy) starts at the end with the Richardson's house being on fire. The family is standing outside all talking about the youngest daughter and how they are sure she did it. The story slowly begins to unfold with a series of events that lead to this final scene.

Not only did I have trouble putting this book down, but the writing was exquisite. I felt connected to the characters and truly invested in the way things turned out. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised especially after my not so positive experience with her other book.

Oh.My.Word...I am not even really sure where to begin with this book. First of all, it almost felt like was several books all in one. I often felt like the book was almost over (despite the fact that I still had tons of pages left) and then bam it would start again. At times I felt as if the story were a bit disjointed and over-told...but then at other times I was completely enthralled in the story.

Lily and Ed are newlyweds and their marriage is FAR from perfect. Lily is a lawyer and takes on a convicted murderer and things don't turn out the way she planned. This single event spurs a chain of events that lead us through an extremely dark and twisty ride. I'm still on the fence on how I felt about it...I liked it...I would have liked some things to have been different, but I didn't hate it. Make sense? No? Please read this and let's chat ;)

I have already started my next book

This is the 4th book in the Winter Street (Trilogy?) I thought the last book was the final book in this series, and am thrilled that there is one more! I felt a little like there were some loose ends and I am hoping that this book ties them up for me. I am always on the fence about Elin Hilderbrand, but this series has always been one I have enjoyed.

I have a few books on hold at the library, but no guarantees on when they will be in the meantime I am on the lookout for good books to add to my "to be read" send any and all suggestions my way!

Friday, January 26, 2018

My Little Book Worm

As part of my New Year's Resolution this year, I am FINALLY learning how to use my Nikon D3300. I have had this camera for 2 years and have yet to take the time to learn how to shoot in manual mode. This camera takes good pictures in auto, but with this cute little boy in my life, I just can't settle for good pictures anymore...I need GREAT ones :) 

In addition to learning how to use my camera, I really want to make sure to capture some of my favorite moments. Time goes way too fast, and while I can't pause time and freeze these moments, I sure can take a million pictures that I can look back on forever <3

One of those moments was a few weeks ago, on a day off from work. I had a whole day home with my sweet little boy and he was FINALLY healthy, happy, and enjoyable :) Christmas break and the weekend prior had been filled with a sick, clingy, non-sleeping this day was MUCH needed for all involved.

Ever since he was about 6 months old, Bennett has LOVED books. He loves holding them, flipping the pages, and being read to. He especially likes the books with animals and when we make animal noises :)

In his room we have a book shelf hanging on the wall next to his crib, and when he wakes up in the morning or after naps he always reaches for his books. Most days we are in a hurry, and don't have time to stop and read...but on the weekend and days off like this one, we always take the time to snuggle up and read a few books. This is something that fills my heart with SO much happiness and I know it's a memory I will want to hold onto forever.

I tried to narrow it down to just a few of my favorite pictures...but they are all my favorite, I can't help it! Seeing him read a book just melts my heart <3

He even points at the different pictures on each's seriously the cutest!

I just love watching him flip the pages and look at each page of his book.

He read through all the books within reach, and decided he just wasn't quite finished yet!

Reading books is serious business for this guy...

It's always important to get comfy when reading ;) 

Making sure he got ALL of his books out of the crate!

He especially loves the books with the flaps he can lift up and see what is underneath!

He was so into his books, he forgot mommy was even in the room!

Intense concentration!

Sorry for the picture over-load...but I just can't get enough of this little book-worm!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

November/December Book Review + End of the Year Review

You guys...I did not think this was going to happen. I did not think I was going to meet my goal of 24 books this year. You see, I started off really strong...and then this fall I kind of fell off. I blame it on being a mom, going back to work full time, and marathon training.

I cheated a of the books I added to my list I read aloud to my class...

but it was the highest rated book on Goodreads (from my list) so that makes it okay ;) I added it back in October and added it to the list because I wasn't sure I would make it to 24 otherwise...turns out I didn't need it to reach my goal, but it was a nice cushion ;) 

I was skeptical at the beginning of 2017 that I would be able to finish 24 books with the arrival of a cute little distraction

But, turns out, he's a big reader it worked out! 

I mostly read e-books this year and read them while either rocking my cute little guy to sleep or running on the treadmill...Mom Life is all about multitasking, plus these days when my head hits the pillow I fall asleep pretty immediately ;)

While I had a pretty slow reading picked back up for November and December. Thanks to a couple of breaks (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and colder weather that forced us indoors (along with more treadmill running) I was able to finish 3 books...which is less than my intended 2 per month, but it was more than I had been managing I call it a win! 

Sarah Jio has been a favorite author of mine for years. I have never read one of her books that I didn't like...and this one was no exception. What I love most about her books is the dual setting/time period and how she perfectly weaves them together in the end. This story explores a young woman's past and the unfinished business she has with an ex-boyfriend who mysteriously disappeared from her life 12 years ago. She is currently in her dream job, living in a beautiful home with her perfect fiance when she comes across her first love, and discovers that he is homeless. She makes it her mission to help him, and get to the bottom of how he came to be homeless. I only gave it 3 out of 4 stars on Goodreads because I wasn't crazy how the story wrapped wasn't awful, but it kind of left me feeling like there should have been more to it. 

Earlier this year I read One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and loved it, so when this one was available for check out from the library I jumped at the chance. 

This book was TOTALLY different than One True Loves, but I enjoyed it just as much. In this book we hear the story of Evelyn Hugo's past as she divulges all of her secrets to a down on her luck reporter. I found myself completely entranced in Evelyn's story and could not put this book down. I would HIGHLY recommend this book! 

This book...I have to admit I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing it. This book sucked me in straight away and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. 

It was such weird, dark, and twisted book that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. Like I mentioned above, I am having a really hard time describing this book...but basically it is about a woman who gets married to a seemingly perfect man after a very short courtship and things change drastically once they are married. She is in a desperate situation and has to do whatever she can to escape and protect her family. I would highly recommend this book. I won't say it's similar to "Gone Girl" or "Girl on a Train" because it's not...but it does have the same dark and twisty type story. 

So, that's last 3 books of 2017! I have to say I never regret making this resolution for myself. I love reading and sometimes I just need a little push to turn the TV off (or put my phone down) and pick up a book...and setting my yearly goal on Goodreads does just that!

For 2018 I decided to go a little easier on myself...because #MomLife and while I met my goal last year, I got a huge head start with books in Jan, Feb, and March before Bennett was born...and while he is sleeping better and I am managing to stay up a little later these days I still don't have quite as much free time as I used for 2018 my goal is to read 20 books...I am still aiming for 24, but I don't like to fail so the official goal on Goodreads is 20 ;)

Have you set a goal for reading? Do you have a Goodreads account? If so find me on there and add me as a friend...I always love to see what other people are reading because it helps me to get ideas of what to read next!
Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year; New Goals

It has been a hot minute since I have talked about running on the ol' blog...and if we are being honest it's been awhile since I have talked about anything other than my sweet little guy. 

People aren't lying when they tell you life is all about your kids once you become a mom...and I have to tell you I don't mind one bit :) 

While life has been #AllAboutBenny since before he was even born, I have still managed to make running a big part of my life. Running has been important to me for years, and while I am not putting in near as many miles as I was pre-baby, running still plays a really important role in my life. 

Many people assume that I run to stay in shape...and while that is a perk of it, I run more for my mental well being. Running gives me an outlet for life's every day stresses and since having Bennett it has given me something that is all my own. 

Life changed drastically (for the better of course) when he was born, and for several weeks after I struggled with feeling like myself. Returning to running and training for the Gobbler Grind marathon allowed me to grab onto a little piece of my old life, and while at times it wasn't easy, it was so worth it when I crossed that finish line.

I knew going into 2018 I wanted to set some running goals, but I also wanted to be realistic and not put too much pressure on myself. Running a postpartum marathon was a feeling like no other, but the pressure (and early mornings) of training for 26.2 was a lot. 

4 years ago I signed up for my very first half marathon as a part of the Heartland 39.3 series. I ran my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd half-marathons all within 5 weeks of each other. It was a lofty goal at the time, but it was so satisfying. Since that first year I have since run that same series 2 more times. Last year I had Bennett and couldn't run in the series but promised myself I would do it again in 2018 as a "comeback" 

As I started getting the emails about registration for Heartland 39.3 I started to second guess myself. While I wanted to run these 3 races, I also didn't want to put the pressure of training for 3 half marathons on my plate. I then thought about just doing one of the races...but again wasn't sure I wanted to train for a half at all.

While looking at the Garmin half I noticed there was a 10k series with 4-10ks in 5 weeks all being held close to my house. For the first time in awhile I got really excited about a race(s) and decided that THIS would be my running goal for the spring. 

Not only do I want to run the 4-10ks, but I want to get a 10k PR. I am not 100% sure what my 10k PR is since I have only ran a handful of them...but I think it is around 50 minutes.

I'm really looking forward to training for a shorter distance than normal. This will allow me to focus on getting some speed back and long training runs won't take over my life ;) 

I'm only making a goal for the spring...and once those races are over I will reevaluate. I am thinking I might want to run a half this fall...but who knows. I'm just doing life by the seat of my pants these days ;)