Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Books

I'm going to attempt to write this post on my iPad for a couple reasons:
1. I don't feel like getting off of the couch to get the computer
2. We switched our internet provider, and now, I can't get our printer to wirelessly connect with the computer. So the computer is currently upstairs attached to the printer with a USB. See #1.

I'm so confused with how I feel about blogging these days. I miss it, but not enough to find a way to work time to write into my schedule. I try to make time to read my favorite bloggers on the weekends, which doesn't allow me much time to write....

Anyway, this post is about the books I've read in February. I managed to get 3 more books in this month, too!  You can read about my January books here.

I would like to note that at this point, I abandoned writing this post on my iPad before I threw it across the room.  Perhaps, if I had stuck to just typing and added the pictures later, I would've had more success.  lol

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel 
This was my Audible purchase from the month of January.  I get my Audible credit on the 24th of each month, so the books always take me into the next month.  It seems to be helping me with my reading schedule!  Anyway, this is the first book that I have listened to that was not a comedy book or nonfiction.  The book started off a little slow for me at first, and I was wondering if I was even going to like it.  The more I listened, the more the story drew me in.  I gave it 4 stars, and now I want to see the movie version.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series.  After being a bit unsure about the first book, Cinder, (which I read in January) when I began reading it, I was enthralled in the story by the end and ready to read the next book.  Scarlet is better known in the fairy tale world as Little Red Riding hood.  She meets a street fighter named Wolf, and they embark on a journey to find Scarlet's missing grandmother.  Along the way, they catch up with Cinder, and more of the tale unfolds.  I enjoyed this one from start to finish, and I now I'm eagerly awaiting the third book, Cress.  (I'm so glad I'm a teacher.  Thank God for Scholastic book orders!!).  I gave this one 5 stars.


The Thirteenth Gift by Joanne Huist Smith
This month, I was excited to receive my first Blogging for Books book!  I had read a review of this one on Kristin's blog, and I decided to try it out for myself.  Overall, the story has a great message.  It is a beautiful story of a Christmas miracle that begins to heal a family's pain from the loss of their husband and father.  Unfortunately, the writing of this book didn't feel natural to me.  The story could have been told as a short story or article, rather than in an entire book.  I think the impact of the story would've been the same without being an entire book.  I wasn't thrilled with the ending that abruptly shifted from the 12th gift to the 13th gift as more of an epilogue than part of the story.  The author also doesn't directly state what exactly the 13th gift.  It seems to be left to the reader to determine.  My inference is that the 13th gift is the tradition of giving and bringing healing to families who have experienced loss.  I would recommend this book...especially for Christmastime.  It is a quick read.  It's just not one that I will be reading again.  I gave it 3 stars.

So what have you been reading lately??

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How It's Going...2015 Goals

I thought it would be good to try to take time each month and reflect how I'm doing with my goals for this year.  It should help to keep me on track and see where I need to step up!

Health & Fitness
~Continue to work out at least 3x a week. I'm giving this a positive.  Last week, I had to miss my Tuesday Zumba workout because we decided to change our internet provider and they were coming to install that day.  I would've gone if I didn't have to be home.
~Find online videos to do yoga or pilates at least 2x a month (on weekends or non-gym days).
I have found some resources.  I just haven't actually done anything about it yet.
~Add healthier foods to lunch 2x a week.  I bought some baby carrots and even some low-cal mozzarella cheese sticks for my lunches.  I also found these really yummy granola bars by Kashi that are low-calorie with a good bit of protein, and they're really good.  So that makes my between school and the gym snack much healthier!
~MEAL PLAN! I'm going in between here.  I'm getting better.  It is SO nice to come home and either already have dinner ready (crock pot or bean pot recipes) or to know what I'm going to make.  I usually pick up what I need on the weekend or on Mondays.  I just want to keep working on this until it's a full-blown habit.
~Complete an obstacle race.
~Run a 5k.
I'm ok with these last two being completed.  These are goals for later this year.  For starters, it's winter here.  It's cold, and there's nothing really going on in our area anyway.  In addition, I have specific races in mind which aren't held until later.

~I set a reading goal of 30 books for 2015.
A work in progress, that I also don't expect to be done.  If you read yesterday's post, I'm at 3 books for the year.

~Blog at least 2x a month.  Big fail on this one.  I set this goal on January 2nd, and sat down to write some posts for this week on February 1st.  Whoops.  Ultimately, it doesn't upset me.  I need to prioritize, and as much as I enjoy blogging and reading others' blogs, it just doesn't fit on my top priorities right now.  However, I WILL achieve this for February because I've already written two posts when this one is finished!

Overall, I'm happy with my progress on my goals so far!

How are you doing with your goals for 2015?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: January Books

It is my goal to read 30 books in 2015, and so far, I'm off to a great start.  In January, I read 3 books.  According to my challenge on, I am have completed 10% of my goal, and I am one book ahead of schedule.

When I shared my book review of Reshaping it All, I actually did a vlog!  I thought it would be fun and easier to continue to do those.  That has turned out not to be true for me.  Alas, I think it may end up working best for me to just share all of my books at once for a monthly reading update.


Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
I listened to this one on Audible.  I really enjoy listening to audio books on my commute to and from work.  It makes me feel like I'm still doing something productive during my driving time.  I did not like this one as much as I liked Killing Kennedy, but I still really enjoyed it.  It was fascinating to hear the history behind the Lincoln assassination.  What I liked least was that a few chapters droned on about Civil War battles and issues, and I didn't feel it was specifically relevant to the story of Lincoln.  Don't get me wrong, I actually do like learning about Civil War history, but I just didn't feel it was necessary or specific to the story being told.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I got a bit out of control when I was placing my order for our Fall Book Fair.  When I very quickly used up my $50 from our PTO, I took to using my bonus points and money to spend on my next Scholastic Book Order.  Cinder is the first in a series called The Lunar Chronicles.  I certainly love my YA fiction, and it's no secret that I'm a big fan of fairy tales, so this seemed like something I should try.  I was able to score the first two books in the series from the book order.  (Cinder and Scarlet).  At first, I wasn't so sure I could get into this Cinder is a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing in a world centuries after ours.  The more I read, the more the story began to grow on me, and I couldn't put it down.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
This was another Audible purchase.  My tastes on Audible tend to lean toward nonfiction and comedy.  I can't seem to bring myself to listen to fiction, fantasy, or other genres yet.  I also feel compelled toward these comedy memoirs because everyone seems to love them.  I feel like I should read them.  After reading Tina Fey's Bossy Pants and Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Having Fun without Me? And Other Concerns, I decided that LISTENING to these is the way to go.  Since I haven't been super familiar with any of these women other than I know who they are and some of their biggest work, I found that reading their books didn't impress me.  I needed to HEAR them tell their stories.  Listening to Amy Poehler tell her story was wonderful.  The audio book was a super fun recording of her story including a live reading of the last chapter of the book.  She had a few other celebrity guests and even her parents record parts of the book with her.  It was fun to hear about her life and career.  The book is definitely funny because I'm pretty sure Amy Poehler couldn't write a book that wasn't.

I also gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.  

I am currently working on 3 different books.  I normally don't like to do this, but here's how it happened.  I started reading The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (the second in the Maze Runner Trilogy).  Scott took it to work to read and lost it.  So I had to order a replacement.  In the mean time, I read other books.  Then I finished Cinder and started reading Scarlet.  Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of free time for reading these days, so that's slow-going.  BUT I also have my monthly credit from Audible, and I have lots of time to "read" in the car.  So I am also listening to The Life of Pi by Yann Martel--the first fiction book I'm listening to!  You can keep track of what I'm reading and my progress on Goodreads.  I'll certainly have something to share with you at the end of February! 

What are you reading lately?

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