Lyfe

Photo Cred: illcryifiwantto.com

A whole lot of life has been happening lately, which is why I haven’t been as attentive to my blog. Sorry readers! However, I have some book reviews planned and a March favorite. I just need to get to writing. Just wanted to touch base and let you know that I’m still alive!

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2015 Reading Challenge: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick

Photo Cred: goodreads.com
Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Author: Phillip K. Dick
Series: N/A
Release Date: First published in 1968
Publication: Del Rey
Medium: Paperback
Awards: Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1969)
Fulfills: A book that became a movie, A book with nonhuman characters, A book set in the future, A book by an author I’ve never read before
Finished Reading: March 10, 2015

About: “A final, apocalyptic, world war has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending the majority of mankind off-planet. Those who remain, venerate all remaining examples of life, and owning an animal of your own is both a symbol of status and a necessity. For those who can’t afford an authentic animal, companies build incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep . . . even humans.”

The theme for March book club was “leftovers”, so we nominated a good portion of books that had already been nominated, but didn’t win. Among the group was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. I voted for this book, one of a couple, only on the knowledge that it was the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner and that it was set in the future. My guess is that there was something to do with androids. (This guess turned out to be correct.) I had not previously watched Blade Runner or know anything about it. I was basically going at this one blind.

This book was beautifully written. Going from Ready Player One last month to this one was a huge difference in the use of language, and linguistic (hmmm… I don’t want to say “tricks”) tricks. (Dammit, I said it anyway.) There was one member that admitted the book was too well written, and he couldn’t handle it. He opted for the Sparknotes.

Dick definitely had a Vonnegut-feel to it, and upon further investigation about this, I discovered that Dick was a huge fan of Player Piano by Vonnegut. It really shows the influence Vonnegut had on Dick, through the way characters were portrayed. They’re all beautifully flawed.

There were themes on themes on themes. This is one of those books that you could spend your whole life reading and find new things to talk about or new themes each time you read. I’m sure I didn’t catch anything close to how much is going on in this book. There’s just an insane amount. It also depends on the mindset you’re in for which themes or tones you pick up on.

Our book club had a solid hour discussion. A good portion consisted of the character Rachel. In how she develops and changes in the story. We had several theories bobbing around the circle, but I won’t tell because spoilers. We also talked about the name differences in book and movie. It’s not a far stretch to see that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? might not be the ideal choice of a movie title, but where, oh where, did Blade Runner come from?

My rating and why: I gave this book four stars! I read it and really enjoyed it. It’s not one of those books that you can read when you’re looking for something light-hearted. This is not the book to turn to if you’re looking for a book that won’t make you think. This is the book that makes you think and makes you take a look at society and wonder just how far off this could be from reality. Excellent writing, again, by Dick. Applause all around.

Your turn! Have you seen the movie Blade Runner or read this book? Do you know why the movie is called Blade Runner? Have you read anything else by Phillip K. Dick? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophile beasties!

2015 Reading Challenge: The Day We Met by Rowan Coleman

Photo Cred: goodreads.com
Title: The Day We Met
Author: Rowan Coleman
Series: N/A
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Medium: eARC
Fulfills: A book published this year, A book by a female author, A book set in a different country, A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, A book by an author you’ve never read before,
Finished Reading: March 5, 2015

About: “A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband Greg seems like a stranger, and her kids are like characters in a movie. Three-year-old Esther’s growing up in the blink of an eye, and twenty-year-old Caitlin, with her jet-black hair and clothes to match, looks like she’s about to join a punk band—and seems to be hiding something. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Claire is losing her memory, including that of the day she met Greg.
When Claire meets a handsome stranger on a rainy day, she starts to wonder if Greg still belongs in her life. She knows she should love him, but she can’t always remember why. When Greg gives her a blank book, Claire fills its pages with private memories and keepsakes, jotting down beginnings and endings and everything in between. The book becomes the story of Claire—her passions, her sorrows, her joys, her adventures in a life that refuses to surrender to a fate worse than dying: disappearing.”

Before diving into this review, shout out to Net Galley for giving me an advanced copy. (Woot! Woot!)

And now we dive.

This is such a hard topic to talk about. The mind is a crazy thing that we have yet to fully understand (and maybe we never will). I was interested in reading this one because I have personal experience with Alzheimer Disease, while it’s not early on-set. My grandma has it, and it’s definitely hard to be around sometimes. Sometimes I’m a different person that she knows (her sister), sometimes I’m just a young girl, and sometimes I’m her granddaughter. So, when I read the synopsis I was ready to jump on in.

The first thing that really grabbed my attention, or didn’t, was how light it was written. Coleman talks about someone’s life and memories deteriorating and I felt nothing. It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t super emotional. It just was words that I read. I think if it was told more from Claire’s perspective and not given so much reprieve from her thoughts and her mental travels, that it would have been more compelling.

That being said, I didn’t think the book was horrible. It was a light read I could unwind with right before bed. It wasn’t a dark, scary book that would keep me up at night. It wasn’t a book where I needed to be on-point to understand the interweaving themes and symbolism. A great combination to just clear my head, relax, and drift off to dream land.

I could see where Coleman was going with her ethos, but I just didn’t feel anything. I didn’t cry, smile, or laugh. I could tell places when she wanted me to feel those things, but that’s about it. I think I would have liked it more if it was darker, if it pushed the boundaries a bit more than it did. Coleman may have played it safe with this one.

I really liked the whole idea that Coleman had writing about something so personal. I didn’t read about Coleman after the book. (I kind of just wanted to be done with this one.) But I did see that she had personal experience with Alzheimer Disease as well, which makes this book a tiny bit more touching. Just a bit.

My rating and why: I gave this book three stars! I read it, but it wasn’t really for me. I could see the appeal for others. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it, or maybe this just isn’t my genre. I’m not sure. Meh.

Your turn! Is this book on your to-read list? This book is supposed to be compared to Jo Jo Moyes – Have you read anything by Moyes that’s super awesome? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!

Fitness Check-In

Last week I mentioned that I was going to a training schedule as if I was going to run a half-marathon. Today, I am happy to say that I am on track. This is the re-cap of week one, which ran from March 16 – March 22.

**Different Kind of Post Than Usual Alert**

Day 1
Day one is strength and stretch. The easiest thing for me was to just take a weight class. I’ve already talked about this a little bit in the previous post, but it went well. BodyPump is a variety of weight lifting that’s choreographed to music (Sia, Fall Out Boy, etc).

Day 2
Woke up in the exact same position that I went to sleep. When I moved to shut off my alarm, I realized exactly why that was. BodyPump kicked my butt, and it progressively got worse as the day went on. I went to work (both jobs), as usual, and headed to the gym. Today it says I’m supposed to run three miles, but since I can’t read (or can’t remember the days of the week) I ran two miles. It was easy peasy. Even being sore, it wasn’t the worst thing I could possibly do. This wasn’t so bad!

Day 3
Waking up was about the same as day 2. BodyPump still kicking my butt. After working two jobs, (a full-time and a part-time) I headed over to the ol’ gym once again. Because I messed up yesterday, I ran three miles. At least, I planned on running three miles. My shoes were really fighting with my feet and starting to hurt them. I definitely ran more than yesterday, but not the full three miles. I just couldn’t. The shoes I was wearing were old, and I could certainly tell. I wanted to stop all together, but I walked the remaining of the three miles. Soooo, that’s something, right?!

Day 4
This is the first day where I didn’t wake up sore! The schedule has me running three miles, but I didn’t because life gets in the way. My work ran later than usual, and I had a ton of stuff that I had to get done today. (I.E. homework for online classes. Yes, I work two jobs and am going back to school, because I’m just not busy enough.) I made today my rest day and promised myself that I would run three miles tomorrow.

Day 5
Woke up. Both works. And this time, I actually ran all three miles! I was so happy. I changed the shoes I was wearing and really pushed through. It’s amazing the difference a pair of shoes can make. I was content. When I went home, I found three blisters on one toe. Does this mean I’m a runner now?!

Day 6
Saturday! I had every intention on getting up early and heading over to try a Spin class for the first time. I told so many people that this is what I was going to do as sort of a way to keep myself accountable. However, when the alarm went off, my body decided it wanted sleep rather than a 7AM Spin class. After slowly waking up, I went on a 2+ mile walk instead. Later that night, I did Saturday night things that a twenty-something does. With very little concern over whether or not I would be sorry in the morning.

Day 7
No side effects from the previous night. Just very tired. Today is the day that I run four miles! And I did. This is the most I’ve ever run in one go. I was so proud of myself. I even sprinted the last half mile. I am a beast. (I, in fact, texted several people this.) Blisters everywhere, and I’m not even upset. I’m excited!

Overall, it was a great first week. Hidgon says that minor changes in the schedule to accommodate your life and your schedule is A-OK. The next week is the same as the first week. Just the fact that I got through it once means I know I can do it again.

What are you training for? What have you done this week that’s got you proud of yourself? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fitness beasties!

Hal Higdon Hurrah!

Photo Cred: pinterest.com
I’m not a big runner.

I never have been. In gym class I walked the mile run.

In the past year I’ve done three 5ks and registered for a 5-mile race for this May (Cinco de Miler). I’ve started living with the super-skinn-vegan-runs-for-fun-roommate, and I’ve been going to the gym on a regular basis (back to like when I was in college).

I’ve been leaning more and more toward being a strong, healthier person. Getting good habits early on, so it won’t be horrible later in life.

I’ve got five words for you: Hal Higdon’s Half-Marathon Training Guide. No, I haven’t signed up for a half marathon. So why am I doing this? I’ve always been one to push myself and seek the next step. I don’t settle for where I am, and am constantly looking for how I can improve and where I want to go from here.

Now, I’ve only done day one (today is day two). But I’m feeling pretty great about this. Yes, you’re supposed to work out 6/7 days of the week, but you can also move days around to fit your schedule. You’ll make time for things that truly matter to you, even if that something is simple as watching TV. I’ll be doing updates on how this is going. It’s a 16-week program, and I know it’s going to be hard. If you’re doing in the midst of training, don’t be shy. Drop a line and let me know what’s going on with you!

Day one is stretch and strengthen. I took a BodyPump class and let me tell you: it was hard. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with lifting weights or using any sort of upper body strength, so it was definitely a struggle. However, the instructor was active and yelling (happy yelps, not drill sergeant hollers), and overall made it not as horrible as it could have been. The music was constantly changing and the routines were easy to pick up. I talked to the instructor a bit before the class and she told me not to judge how much weight I use based on others around me, but she would say about how much weight I would need before each song.

So far, at 7:30am on day two, I’m feeling pretty great. I didn’t over do it with the amount of weight I used. I’ve definitely done that before – let’s be honest: we’ve all done that before. And right now I feel pretty great, and after the class I felt like I could take on the world!

Let me know what your schedule is today or yesterday and the best way for you to cool off after a work out! What do you eat post-workout? Tell me what you’re training for, if anything specific or if you’re just training for life! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow beasties!

P.S. As of today, I’ve been on WordPress for two years! Happy blogg-versary!

2015 Reading Challenge: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Photo Cred: goodreads.com
Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy (#1)
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Audio Books
Medium: Audiobook
Voice Actor: Charlie McWade
Awards: Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Nominee (2015), YALSA Teens’ Top Ten (2013), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Best Middle Grade & Children’s (2012)
Fulfills: A book by a female author, A book a friend recommended, A trilogy, A book set in a different country
Finished Reading: February 23, 2015

About: “In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Three orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.”

I got this book because I was talking about the reading challenge I’m doing and wanted to know of any good trilogies that I could do on audio (I’m already reading a physical copy book at home and wanted something for my car. Beep Beep!). This trilogy was recommended. I thought it would be awesome! A kingdom in ruin and deceit left and right. I was intrigued and ready for action.

I was disappointed. I understand that this book isn’t for my age group, but this book was so terribly written. I was bored. Sage was one-dimensional, though Nielsen did try. I didn’t believe in any of the characters.

Things conveniently happened. Where did you get that crown? Oh, stole it several chapters ago. How handy, right? No. It’s obnoxious. It’s not coy. I get that some authors try to keep us in the dark and have things revealed as the story progresses, but this was poorly done.

The climax wasn’t very climaxy. No faster breathing. No relief afterward. I was less than impressed.

I’m unsure as to whether or not someone reading this in the correct age group would be entertained. I don’t think I would be.

Short review for a short book.

The only reprieve this book had was with the voice actor. Thank you to McWade. He played the cocky, annoying Sage very well. The voice was exactly the voice I would imagine for this character. Fitting in every way.

I’ll take better notes for books, so my reviews are flashes of what I think I remember.

My rating and why: I gave this book three stars. I read it and it just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a huge fan, but it was ….. ok.

Your turn! Have you read this book? Any good trilogies you’re into lately? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophile beasties!

2015 Reading Challenge: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today by The Gang

Photo Cred: goodreads.com
Title: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today
Author: The Gang
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Medium: Paperback
Fulfills: A book with a number in the title, A funny book, A book based on or turned into a TV show
Finished Reading: February 19, 2015

About: “The Gang may have finally found their golden ticket. Left alone to close down Paddy’s Pub one night, Charlie Kelly inadvertently scored himself, and his friends, the opportunity of a lifetime—a book deal with a real publishing company, real advance money, and a real(ly confused) editor. While his actual ability to read and write remains unclear, Charlie sealed the deal with some off-the-cuff commentary on bird law and the nuances of killing rats (and maybe with the help of some glue fumes in the basement with an unstable editor on a bender). While The Gang is stunned by the news, and the legally binding, irrevocable contract left on the bar, they are also ready to rise to the task and become millionaires—and of course, help Charlie actually write the book.
In their own inimitable voices, Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, and Frank weigh in on important topics like Relationships, Financial Success and Career, Fashion and Personal Grooming, Health and Diet, and Survival Skills, providing insane advice, tips, tricks, and recipes (Rum Ham anyone?) as only they can.”

If you don’t watch the show, you’re going to be insanely lost.

If you don’t love the show, you’re not going to love this book.

All that being said, I love these horrible, horrible people. Starting out, I hated this show. I started watching in like season 4 or so, and just couldn’t get into it. Everyone was yelling over each other and my brain (and ears) couldn’t take the stupid or the noise. BUT! I was told to start watching at the beginning. Season one, episode one. It’s a slow build-up of just how horrible and crazy they are. So they’re pretty muted at the beginning and you grow and get accustomed to their antics. (It’s a great show if you haven’t seen it, and I recommend starting at the beginning (as I did).)

That out of the way – this book was amazing. It was everything that I wanted in a book written by the gang and so much more. Everything from the first all-black page with the white writing that says “The Gang Writes a Self-Help Book” to the interjections of the editor.

Each character writes their own chapters in the five-part book, and it’s so blatantly obvious who is whom. Their voice is ever-present. I was pretty much reading in my head with their voices. Charlie’s pictorial chapters just cracked me up.

I was laughing out loud too many times to count, but I’m sure I annoyed everyone around me. (Sorry to my knight in shining armor and my super-skinny-runs-for-fun-vegan-roommate.)

There’s so much I want to talk about. Little gems hidden throughout this whole book, but I want you to find them! Everything from the S.I.N.N.E.D. system to possibly finding things that happen in future episodes.

My rating and why: I gave this book four stars! I read it and I just loved it. Every thing about it was awesome and true to the show.

Your turn! What show do you watch where the characters should write a book? Have you read this book? Is it on your “to-read” list? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!