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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

diary of a non-jogger: personal best

I tried something new tonight. I have been finding the walk/run/walk/run of the C25K app difficult to keep up with. I end up hurting more than I want to as it goes on, so I thought I’d switch things up and see how it goes.

Taking an idea from an awesome book that I read last year (Spin – by Montreal author, Catherine McKenzie), I thought I’d try and run for the duration of ONE song and then walk. I thought I’d try to do this as long as I could – at least for the route I wanted to go and guess what? It WORKED!

Here’s the breakdown:

Playlist: Running is Stupid

I didn’t use a song for the final walk, which brought me to my front door. That was about a minute and a half or so. And there were a few times I paused while walking when my stupid headphones came unplugged. So I just started the song back up from where it stopped. Luckily this was ONLY while walking. I didn’t stop or pause once while running. I kept it slow and based on my calculations when I got home the running was a little over 2KM of the 3.33!!

I couldn’t believe it. I was absolutely stunned and SO EXCITED!

I know it might seem silly to get so excited over something like this, but you have no idea how much it means to me to be able to run at all. I have NEVER been a jogger. Never. The fact that I know I can run for over FOUR MINUTES in one stretch is just mind blowing to me.

That 4 minute song covered 0.70 km of distance – so I guess I’m about 6mins a km perhaps? I ran really slow and made sure to try and pace myself so I didn’t feel too overextended at all. And I felt so much better while running this way than I do with the C25K app I am using. So maybe I will try this style of training again.

The songs above are all linked to youtube or soundcloud for your listening pleasure. I had my playlist on shuffle, so the only song I actually chose was Whole Wide World. I realized once it ended that I had wanted to run to it, so I started it over again (one of the paused moments and missing 4-ish minutes from my total time).

Now I’m going to pop an advil (because I can feel my shins starting to throb, 3 hours after my run!) and go to bed. I can’t wait to try this again in 2 days!

The Demon King

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)
by Cinda Williams Chima

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell – the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked – as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history – it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returning to court after three years of freedom in the mountains – riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea – the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her – including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. (goodreads.com)

Holy cow. That was ALL of the summary from goodreads. 0_o

I am late to the party that is the Seven Realms fantasy series. There are four books in this series and I’m not sure why I never noticed them before because I am all about the high/epic fantasy books, people. And this is YA fantasy and we totally need more YA fantasy in the world.

I read all four books between April 27  to May 5. Nine days. And it only took me THAT long because I had to go to stupid work during the week days. Jeez.

At the same time, I can’t really say this is only YA fantasy, because many fantasy novels have young protagonists, but they aren’t always classified as Young Adult novels.

The Demon King is the first book of four and you are introduced to the cast of characters who you will grow to love and hate through the next three books. Han a.k.a Hunts Alone, a.k.a. Cuffs Alister is the main focus of the story although other chapters are told from the point of view of Princess Raisa.

The pacing of the story is gripping and interesting. I could not stop reading (except  when I was at work. Sigh.) and I was just devouring page after page (or screen after screen, rather, since I got this on my Kobo.) I wasn’t even half-way through the novel when I went and bought books 2 and 3 knowing that I would want to continue the series as soon as possible!

The description throughout the story held my attention 100% and I tend to phase out when I come across long passages of description in fantasy novels. I like the dialogue and action scenes, but description is sort of my zone out area. There really wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t like.

However, I wasn’t instantly in love with either Han or Raisa. I didn’t dislike them, but it took me a little while to warm up to them and really feel for them. Towards the end of The Demon King (an ending I was totally suspecting, because, you know, the TITLE and all…) I was pretty sure that I was fully on board rooting for each of the two protagonists and their respective quests. I especially enjoyed Raisa in the next books because she reminded me a lot of Ce’Nedra from the David & Leigh Eddings Belgariad / Mallorean series. (I always loved Ce’Nedra…not as much as I adore Polgara, but close!) (That being said, I kept picturing Draco Malfoy as the mean boy wizard even though he was described as not looking anything like him. It was just how mean he was I was all, BAD MALFOY! PLAY NICE!)

This is a story about many stories and you sort of know right away that they will all eventually connect. That is the way of fantasy, my friends. And I am ok with that, because I tend to like formula in my fantasy stories. It’s comforting.

Be prepared… Since I read this series all in a row, my next bunch of posts will be all about the Seven Realms. You have been warned.

(And I am writing this in Word, while on a train trip. I am going to try and get as many of them written as I can since my blog has been woefully silent for too long. Sorry!)

Seven Realms

1)    The Demon King
2)    The Exiled Queen
3)    The Gray Wolf Throne
4)    The Crimson Crown

Letting Ana Go

Letting Ana Go
by Anonymous

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction. She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better—stronger—she felt.

But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far…

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind. (goodreads.com)

Release date: June 4, 2013

I have never read Go Ask Alice but I keep meaning to. When I got an email about the possibility of reviewing this book, I said yes. I had just finished my course and, well, it’s a disorder book. I have an addition to disorder books. This one is about anorexia, but it could be about mental illness, depression, cutting, suicide, and I will gobble it up. My soul likes to purge its own demons through literature now rather than act out in real life.

I will tell you, I read this book 2 weeks ago and I am STILL thinking about it. Not because I knew I wanted to write up this post, but because it just stayed with me. I don’t know what the another “Anonymous” books are like, but this one felt like I was reading a real journal. It was written in a way that reminded me of my own diaries when I was a young teen. The narrator’s voice was real and loud in my ears.

Parts of it reminded me of my own summers on the lake, even though this was really nothing like my own life. There was just a feeling…a sense, if you will that brought up so many flashbacks to when I was 13-16 years old. Maybe it’s also because the weather finally warmed up and I always feel nostalgic for my summers on the lake that I no longer have. Don’t know.

All I know is that this novel had a voice that resonated with me and felt so raw and real. I didn’t cry but I just felt everything in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t feel trapped as I normally do with emotionally heavy books, rather I felt…ok. I felt ok while I read this story and felt like I was reading a real girl’s journal and spiral into the unhealthy habits she picked up. I think because I knew what the outcome was going to be – even though I continuously hoped I’d be wrong – I didn’t feel the same sense of panic I normally feel, as I wonder if this kid will make it out alive?

I’m not sure how to explain how this story made me fee, other than it’s still fresh in my mind 2 weeks after reading it. Almost like I’d lived it myself. Like these were my own memories. They are nothing like my memories, but they still felt so real.

I was especially affected by the boyfriend relationship. It’s so rare to see a story where the boyfriend tries so hard to convince his girl that she’s beautiful the way she is and he doesn’t want her hurting herself. It was just such a beautiful and painful part of the book.

This is a book I will keep forever. I think I’d even re-read it, as difficult as it was. There was something about it that just connected with me. It’s heartbreaking that a girl can go from healthy and happy to thinking that she has to be skeletal to be pretty. This book is just so wonderfully written and painful to read, but it’s worth it.

diary of a non-jogger – almost, but not quite

It’s been a gorgeous weekend. I had wanted to run yesterday but I just wasn’t feeling well. Today is even nicer than yesterday and I have managed to get so much into just this one day. By the afternoon I knew I wanted to RUN. So I went out, almost alone, but Shawn followed along with the dogs yet again (though when it’s in the 20s it’s a little too hot for them, so I didn’t let Jinx run with me). I thought I would try the week 2 program on this thing. I’m finding it harder to do the walking part now so I thought, why not try running longer? And…it’s almost ok.

The schedule for this “week” is run 60, walk 90, run 90, walk 90. Repeat 5 times. Well, I got 4 60 second runs in and 3 (and a bit) 90 second runs in before I felt like crap. No bad knee or leg pains, just the normal soreness I have from excercising, but I felt a little nauseous and I was having some trouble keeping my breathing even towards the end. I think had it been a little bit cooler, I might have been able to push through. Maybe.

I am trying not to be too disappointed in this. For much of this excursion I was finding it a lot easier than I have been. I can ALMOST complete it. ALMOST. But not quite. Not yet.

Why on earth running for 90 seconds is so hard, I have no idea. You wouldn’t think it should be. Right? I mean… I don’t know. I feel like it shouldn’t be hard.

I find myself wondering if I should try something else. Maybe run ONE SONG and walk ONE SONG and do that a few times. Maybe I can run longer than 90 seconds if I don’t have to stop and walk. I don’t know. This is like a tried and true training type schedule, right? So it should work. Although I’m notorious for having things not work for me that work for the rest of the world. It’s just the way I roll.

Anyhow, today I went out. I did almost the full Week 2 program and I don’t feel crummy now. I slathered on the sunscreen (but my nose still feels like it might be a little burnt, but that might be because of sitting out back most of the morning!) and I realize I need to get a hat. Although I can only imagine how annoyed I will be as that hat keeps trying to fly off my head as I run. Especially if it’s windy. What do actual joggers do? Tie a hat on? I don’t want the top of my head to burn – and it will. I burn just by thinking about sun.

I will hopefully go out again on Tuesday when I get home from work. I will try this schedule again. I will keep trying it until I can do it. I like the longer running periods over the multiple walking ones.

Still not convinced I will be able to run 5K any time soon. I am waffling on whether or not to sign up for a 5K in the fall. I find that rather daunting and I’m too chicken just yet.

Frost Burned

Frost Burned (Mercy Thomson, #7)
by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely. (goodreads.com)

** NOTE ** I started this post 2 weeks ago. I just can’t seem to find time to blog about the books I have been reading! Sorry for the lack of updates! 

I just couldn’t wait another year to read the latest Mercy Thompson novel, so I broke down and bought it for my Kobo. Yes. I bought an EBOOK when I have been so vehemently opposed to ebooks for so long. I am ashamed to say I am quite enjoying my eReader and have bought quite a few books for it with gift cards that I had. *cough* I totally plan on buying the paperback when it’s out though for my collection!

Now that I have my confession out of the way, I will tell you that I truly enjoyed this book. The last few installments have left me wondering if I wanted to continue on with the series, but Frost Burned reminded me why I loved this series so much.

There’s something about Mercy and how everything happens to her or she’s the one that needs to save everyone that doesn’t get old or annoying. She’s smart, strong, capable and gets into her fair share of fights and injuries. She’s also immensely likable and not a damsel in distress at all. Somehow when things happen to her they seem normal (well, as normal as paranormal type things can be.)

What made me laugh most was the Black Friday shopping experiences at the start of this book. I liked reading about Mercy doing something that wasn’t saving the world. She was doing something normal people do, with her step-daughter Jessie. (I say “normal” very loosely, because I don’t consider people who go out to Black Friday sales all that normal. I consider them insane.)

I thought it was super exciting to suddenly have an entire pack kidnapped without so much as blinking an eye. I liked the mystery and intrigue within this instalment of the series. It held my attention very well and I was so happy I finally caved in and bought the ebook. (Trust me, there was a huge internal debate over this. I still feel odd when I buy books for my eReader.)

The one problem I had with the book was the ending. I was sort of disappointed once the Big Reveal was announced. I had sort of hoped for more than what it was because I thought it was…lacking? Anti-climatic? It felt somewhat dissonant to the rest of the novel. Oh, well. I still enjoyed the book immensely.

I think fans of this series will be happy with the new book. Especially since it was a long time coming. I am looking forward to more from Mercy, Adam and the gang. I hope it won’t be another 2 years down the road though!

Mercy Thompson series

  1. Moon Called
  2. Blood Bound
  3. Iron Kissed
  4. Bone Crossed
  5. Silver Borne
  6. River Marked
  7. Frost Burned