Teaser Tuesdays - April 27

Taken from Miz B.'s, Should Be Reading blog:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B. of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just click the link for Teaser Tuesdays and you can find out how to participate!

Here is my teaser for the week:
"'I need a gun,' I said again. 'This is a big deal, right? So I'll need a weapon. I can't just go to the store and buy one. No ID, no address.'"  ~p.185, The Killing Floor by Lee Child

What is your teaser for this week? You can post a link to your blog in the comments, or if you don't have a blog you can post your teaser in the comments. Happy Tuesday!

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

I am a sucker for books about dogs. I didn't know this until I read Marley and Me a few years ago. I laughed and cried while I read that book because I have dogs and I can definitely identify with the idea of "The World's Worst Dog". When I saw the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, I immediately wanted to read it. I knew it would undoubtedly include the story of a a man and his loyal companion, but I wasn't quite prepared for how much I would like this book.

I have to admit, it was a little hard for me to read. The storyline is not light at all and even focuses on the human side of the story more than the dog side. Denny is Enzo's owner and the two have a special bond. They go through major events in life together--Denny meeting the woman he loves, his marriage, the birth of his daughter, his racing career--and their bond is special. Enzo takes care of Denny in ways that really only a dog can. His loyalty and steadfastness were heartwarming and any dog lover can identify with it. The difficult part of reading it is that it is not a light book like Marley and Me was. There is tragedy in the story and it is pervasive throughout the book. I actually felt a little depressed reading it because the subject matter was so heavy. Early on in the book, Denny's wife becomes ill and sets the course for the family's tough fight throughout the story.

Even with the tragedy, I am so glad I read this. It was heartfelt and inspirational. There was a quote in the book that really touched me as well. It was a discussion between Denny and his friend Don where Denny is doubting whether or not he will succeed in the fight to get his daughter back. It read:
"But what if I don't win?" he asked. "There is no dishonor in losing the race," Don said. "There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose." ~p.277
When I read this I thought about how profound it was. I cannot think of anyone who hasn't faced something in their lives where they wonder if they will lose the struggle and this quote so profoundly answers the question.

I highly recommend this book. You probably won't laugh while you read it. You might even cry, but it's definitely a journey worth taking.

Teaser Tuesdays - April 13

Taken from Miz B.'s, Should Be Reading blog:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B. of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just click the link for Teaser Tuesdays and you can find out how to participate!

Here is my teaser for the week:
"'Sometimes I think you actually understand me', he said. 'It's like there's a person inside there. Like you know everything.' I do, I said to myself. I do."  ~p.61 of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

What is your teaser for this week? You can post a link to your blog in the comments, or if you don't have a blog you can post your teaser in the comments. Happy Tuesday!

Friday Book Blogger Hop - 4/9

Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books started Book Blogger Hop to help people discover old and new book blogs that they didn't know were out there. I myself have gotten a few new followers from people "hopping" over to my blog and I have begun to follow a lot of really fun and interesting blogs out there! It's a great resource to discover new blogs that have reviews of great books!

Her only rules are:
  • Your blog has to have book related content on it, but is not limited to book related content.
  • You need to click on a few other blogger links through the MckLinky posted on her page. It's a weekly event so if you don't have time to click on links to other blogs that day, you can always participate the following week.
Also, if you start following someone on the Hop, make sure you leave them a comment on their blog and let them know you found them through Book Blogger Hop!

Blood of the Fold - Terry Goodkind

Ahhh....the continuing journey of Richard and Kahlan through the Sword of Truth series. I'm reading one of these chunksters a month so I was excited when I picked up Blood of the Fold and saw that it was only 623 pages long. I figured, "This is a short one compared to the 800+ pages I've been reading in the series. This will go fast!" I was wrong. While I enjoyed the book, it was definitely slower moving than the first two.

Blood of the Fold continues on where Stone of Tears leaves off. The Sisters of the Dark have fled the Palace of the Prophets, Richard is back in the Midlands, and Kahlan is still separated from him on her own journey. While Richard and Kahlan were able to defeat Darken Rahl again in Stone of Tears, a new threat has emerged. The leader of the Imperial Order, Jagang is threatening to take over the world and eradicate it of magic. The Blood of the Fold, a group of people who believe magic is evil and will stop at nothing to eradicate it, has forced Richard to take over the Midlands and demand all people of the Midlands surrender unconditionally and swear fealty to him in order to quell the thread from the Imperial Order (to which The Blood of the Fold belongs).  He is also trying to protect Kahlan from being discovered because her magic is exactly what the Imperial Order is trying to eradicate.

The Palace of the Prophets has a really large role in this book. I found its storyline in Stone of Tears to be somewhat boring, but in this book the pace really picks up. There is still the boring element to it. Poor Sister Verna has a lot of paperwork which Terry Goodkind really wants to tell us readers about (I felt like that went on for way too many pages), but Verna and Warren are very likeable characters and I much preferred their storyline in this book to the last one. I also liked how the Sisters of the Dark who were a major threat in Stone of Tears played out in this book. They were infinitely more interesting in Blood of the Fold. For all those fans of Zedd, Wizard of the First Order, you might be disappointed in this book. His role is somewhat reduced as is Kahlan's. I like them both immensely and was waiting for them to have a more prominent role. It never happened. The book is largely about Sister Verna and Richard. It was appropriate for the storyline, but also made for a little bit slower reading.

I do recommend people who have been reading this series and have the same problem as I did to trudge through and prevail! I am about 200 pages into the fourth book, Temple of the Winds, and am really enjoying it so far. It's a big chunkster at 822 pages, but I am breezing through it and finding it difficult to go to bed at night for want of reading more! Don't worry, while Blood of the Fold is slower, it sets up Temple of the Winds nicely as far as I can tell and brings Terry Goodkind back from my "On Notice List" (thank you Stephen Colbert for letting me borrow your list), to my "Awesome Author List".

Beat The Reaper - Josh Bazell

As soon as I saw the cover of Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell I knew I was in for a comical ride of thrills. The first sentence of the book didn't let me down. The narrator stops to watch a rat fight a pigeon in the snow and someone tries to mug him. It is quite possibly the strangest start to a book that I've ever read. Beat the Reaper is the story of Dr. Peter Brown, an intern at a hospital in Manhattan. In between stories that are reminiscent of House of God, we find out that one of the doctor's patients recognizes him as Pietro Brnwa, a hit man for the mafia. From there the story diverges into Peter's story in the hospital and his past as Pietro. 

As a young man, Pietro Brnwa's grandparents have been murdered and he embarks on a mission to find their killers. He gets tied up in with the mob and ends up in witness protection where he becomes the good Dr. Peter Brown. His patient's recognition of his former self sets off panic in Dr. Brown and he must figure out a way to get away from his patient and beat the reaper.

While I can't say this was the best book I've ever read, the story was pure fun. The footnotes were fairly hilarious, and the ridiculous situations that were so outlandish you couldn't help but roll your eyes with both pleasure and disbelief (don't expect believable situations in this book--including a dip in a shark tank and the most bizarre weapon I've ever read about). I did enjoy the humor, but I found myself enjoying the doctor's branch of the story more than the young Pietro's story. I wanted to get back to how Peter planned to get away from the mob every time the story deviated to his younger years as a hit man. I was not disappointed because the book read quite quickly, and I didn't have to trudge through any part of the story that was just plain uninteresting. If you are looking for a thriller that will give you the chuckles, Beat the Reaper is a good way to spend a day off from work or take to the beach while you relax in the sun (but beware of sharks!).

100 Mile Challenge Wrap -Up and New Beginning!

Between January 1 and March 31, Trish ran the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge at her blog with the same name. I decided that I was going to participate because I had ballooned to 152 pounds and was busting out of my clothes! I absolutely hate exercising. I live in Texas where it is ridiculously hot for most of the year, and I'm originally from the mountains in Northern New Mexico so I have just never acclimated. So, that being said, I have not been motivated to exercise since I moved here 12 years ago (in fact, I've been unsuccessfully petitioning to move to a more temperate climate). Well, I've finally given in and decided to embrace the sweaty Texas lifestyle and overall I did pretty well.

I did complete the 100 Mile Challenge and actually surpassed the goal with a total of 123 miles done. The challenge counts all walked and run miles. Biking and exercise videos count differently with 15 minutes of biking or exercising counting for a mile. I did exercise videos and was pretty diligent about walking my dogs. Last month, I started getting tendonitis in my left shoulder which left me unable to lift my arm very much so I stopped doing the videos but continued walking. Though it was "winter" here in Texas, I really enjoyed being outside. There were very few days where I was uncomfortable with the cold (I no longer own a real jacket or have mittens so it did get a little chilly some days for me) and I was super motivated to walk because of it. Even my allergies didn't keep me down! I have been diligently taking my allergy meds and going every two weeks to get my allergy shots, and I think it's really helped! So, when all was said and done on March 31 I felt I had succeeded at least becoming more active. During the three months, I lost 7 lbs. without doing my with my diet (I tried to eat less but still chowed down on cake and cookies and the like).

Because all of this was such a success, I'm signing up for Round 3 of the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge which is being run by Allie (Enriched Mom) and Jill (Softdrink) this time around. It's only April 3 and they have already posted a mini-challenge to get in a day of exercise for the first day of the challenge (which actually shamed me into exercising--I was so going to skip that day). I'm going to give myself a little stretch goal and say I want to do 150 miles this time because I was able to do 123 miles last time. I say it's a stretch goal because summer is coming up and like I said above, I hate the Summer heat. I'm going to do it though for my health and to help keep my dogs healthy and happy as well! Will any of you join me in sweatiness for the challenge?!! I'd love it if some of my followers did and updated me on their progress. I love reading all the progress comments each week on the progress report. They are so motivating and so real! Some people are super achievers and some people are normal (like me...hehe). I like that everyone shares their struggles and triumphs because really, we are all in it together.

If you plan on joining, leave a comment here for me so I can check in with you and see how you are doing on the challenge every once in awhile! Click HERE to join the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge for April 1 - June 30.
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