Friday, January 30, 2015

January wrap-up

It's possible I'll finish one more book before the end of Sunday. So far I have read an astounding amount of books in January. I've even shocked myself. My goal for 2015 is 100.

This has involved a LOT of nights of staying up till 11 p.m. reading. I still have insomnia, although it's getting better! I find reading before bed relaxes me. However, the worst is trying to put the book down to go to sleep.

Eight books completed and almost all were outstanding.

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Zombie novella sequel to "This is Not A Test."

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Who hasn't heard of this book? I've always wanted to read it, so I did! Review coming soon.

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A prequel for "Dorothy Must Die."

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Teens stranded on an island are killed off one by one. Spoooooky!

Station Eleven

People of Earth trying to build up from a deadly flu that wiped out most of civilization.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)

The end of the Mara Dyer trilogy.

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So far, my favorite one of 2015. An alcoholic tries to find out what happened to a woman she saw while riding the train every day.

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I used to have no boundaries and paid dearly. This book is Bible-based and explains how you too can gain more control of your life.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Drink your greens!

I'm on the second week of my limited sugar/low carb diet and it's still going good! I'm still tempted by some things - king cake every freaking day at work - but, I am staying strong!

Right now, my main goals are to stick to the diet while boosting up my immune system.

I made my very own chicken broth AND used that soup for a chicken soup sans noodles. It's pretty good, but needs more spice!

I'm getting used to cooking at night, getting the next day's meals ready. It's all falling into place, but it's a LOT of work. They say I'll get used to it like driving a car. We'll see.

I had a couple of rounds of bronchitis last year and umpteen sinus infections. I said NO MORE! So I'm doing what I can to build my immune system up after so much junk.

So far, so good, knock on wood. The two girls I work with have been sick for weeks. Emily had a fever last week. I haven't gotten sick (yet - cause I know I just jinxed it).

I've been eating an enormous amount of vegetables all sorts of different ways. But I've also been drinking a few sips of this each night:



I apologize for the blurry iphone pics! I'm getting a new phone in a few months cause mine is ancient!

The Evolution drinks are awesome! However, they are hard for me to drink. I'm used to nice smoothies with sweetness all around. But these, are, less-than-sweet. And they smell like grass. But I'm doing my best with them.

Check out those nutrition facts AND the ingredient list. You can't get any healthier. Evolution does have sweeter drinks out there, but the sugar count is quite high. So I'm not going to tempt myself with those.

My beloved Starbucks coffees are gone, at least for now. I've been shopping at Whole Foods. I decided to try the Green Monster or Green Dream - I can't remember which name it is.


It has kale, spinach, pineapple and wheatgrass. It tastes like butt. I won't get this particular one again, but I do like a lot of their other juices and smoothies made on the spot.

I also tried SARDINES for the first time this week. AMAZING!!! I actually like these better than tuna. My friend kept telling me over and over to try them and I finally listened to her. I think I was scared there would be beady eyes looking at me, but the heads are not in the can. Woot!

I'm using Wild Planet because there are no oils and other crap. Excellent! I'm excited to have something other than tuna for seafood salads.

sardines

Source: Wild Planet

However, I only eat the kind stashed in water, not oils.

PS: I haven't been paid by any of these companies and I sure didn't receive anything for free. LOL!! Honest review here y'all!

Have you been sick so far this year? Do you try anything to boost your immune system?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book review: The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

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This will not be a good review because I'm so afraid I will give out spoilers. However, the book was incredible! I read this book at the end of 2014. It ended up being in my top five favorite books of the year.

From Goodreads:
"Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius." Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end."

The story is told mostly from Melanie's point-of-view. Why is she a "genius?" Why is she in a cell? Why is a gun pointing at her while she is being strapped in? She's just a girl afterall.

My only negative spot for the review is I thought the book was a tad too long. Other than that, the story was strong, the characters were strong. Beware, there are some blood and violence - not over-the-top gross.

By now you may know the main plot of this story. It's a best-seller and has been out for a while. If you've read this book, let me know!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book review: Welcome to The Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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The sequel to this book is coming out this year. I will be reading it!

Welcome to The Dark House is young adult with a weird edge to it. I thought the book was creepy, but not scary or freaky.

From Goodreads:
"For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run."


I read this book before Christmas, but right about the time the Elves on the Shelves started making their appearances everywhere.

We own a lazy Elf on the Shelf named Charlie. He lives with us, but he never actually gets into trouble. He missed the memo about returning to the North Pole after Christmas. I describe him because every single time I either saw him or read about the Nightmare Elf in the book I giggled.

Oh the greatness of reading this story around Christmastime. 

While the plot was a bit on the lean side, I thought the story was worth reading to the end. Overall I really enjoyed the book. "Return to The Dark House" publishes in July.

This book is excellent for those who are too scared to go to watch a scary movie, but interested enough to read the imdb.com synopsis. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book review - Confessions by Kanae Minato

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I had an amazing reading year in 2014. I wasn't sure I could pick "my favorite book of 2014." Here it is, for all the world to see, My Favorite Book of 2014 - Confessions by Kanae Minato.

Oddly enough, this was one of the final books I read for the year. I read it in one sitting which I very rarely achieve. Seriously, I think the last time was for The Da Vinci Code and stayed up till 4 a.m. This was, of course, when I was single and without a little person to raise.

This book, sigh, puffy hearts - is pure evil.

From Goodreads:
"After an engagement that ended in tragedy, all Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. Now, after a heartbreaking accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation. 

But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that will upend everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.

Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you'll never see coming,Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in harm's way. You'll never look at a classroom the same way again."


This plot reminded me a lot of the old enigmatic tv show, "Lost." Any Lost fans out there? If I had to choose one word for this plot it would be: consequences. Everything had consequences in this book. Much like Lost, one event leads to another; flashbacks are involved; various points-of-views.

Fan-freaking-tastic. This was written in Japanese and translated to English.

The teacher gets revenge on the students who may or may not have caused her daughter's death. Then we see how those dark days go down through certain characters' eyes.

I love books that connect the dots from even the tiniest details. That is a good ending to me. 

I'd recommend this book to those who love mysteries, Japanese culture and teachers (don't get any ideas!).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marathon!

I've been thinking for quite a while now about running a full marathon. Actually I've been thinking about it for 16 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. However, these last couple of months, I've been coming up with action plans to make this happen.

This week started my no sugar detox and I gotta say, it's going real good. Real good. My foot has improved, which I wondered if that might happen due to no inflammation from no sugar.

So today I got what I consider a sign from the cosmic energy out there. I may even call it some positive karma. I received an email from the 2016 Rock N' Roll New Orleans people:

Next year Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will be on February 28.
Get in early for the guaranteed best price of the year! Presale registration is available online, or at the Health & Fitness Expo for a limited time only.
  • Marathon: $50
  • Half Marathon: $50
  • 10K: $25
If you know anything about marathon pricing, this is one helluva deal. It is too good to pass up. 

So I registered. I FREAKING REGISTERED!!! 

This is one huge item on my bucket list and, by golly, I'm going to do my best to make it happen. 

It's exactly 402 days till race day. But of course, we all know it's not the race that counts, but the TRAINING. That's when the real magic happens.

Obviously I have a few things that need to happen:
1) Overall I'd like to lose 45 pounds.
2) I need to lose at least 20 before I run. My goal for that to happen is by April.
3) Rehaul my diet - in the process of doing that now.
4) Get more sleep (no more reading till 11 p.m.)
5) Drink shitloads of water - the fabulous detox forum I'm a part of is super supportive in this. We are all doing great.


There are lots of "pros" to taking this on, but lots of "cons" as well. The main one being that the diet I'm following now - low sugar, low carb (but eating lots of good carbs with vegetables) will have to stick throughout the year. I do plan on having one cheat meal a week and maybe one nice Starbucks white chocolate mocha once a month. 

But in order for this to work I have to keep my insulin levels right. I have to make sure that foot continues to heal.

And of course, there is always the "fallback" plan. Run the half instead of the full. I know I can do that if all else fails. 

I will do a post once a week to keep up with my workouts and foods. But, the blog will remain being a mostly book blog. Running isn't for everyone and I don't want the few readers I have to become bored.

Have you ever run a marathon before? Have you ever run a half or 5k? Any advice?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

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Goodness, this was another book that was in my top five of 2014. I really enjoyed this one and it was a good "who done it."

From Goodreads:
"As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night."


The plot involving a missing sister - so sad. I don't know what it is about books with missing girls, but I die. every. time. Perhaps it's because I have a daughter, but it's just tough to read.

The reader also feels for Toni who just can't get a break. It's a tough world out there and its even tougher if you've been to prison. Especially if it's for a crime you didn't commit. A  lot of prisoners claim their innocence, so through most of the book I floundered back and forth on is she telling the truth?

There were flashbacks. I sometimes abhor flashbacks in books. Stevens did a nice job of not making the flashbacks confusing.

This is a good read for those who like mysteries and plots involving difficult families.