I Feel Famous And Random Thoughts On Running

I was invited to participate in a Today Show Google + Hangout. The book we discussed is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.

It was so cool to be able to interact directly with an author and get questions answered that were bothering me about the book answered. I need this to happen for every book I read because I am the worst at not knowing anything (please don’t ever tell me you have a surprise for me or that you know something I don’t, it will make me crazy.)

I have actual proof that I am getting faster.

Track Comparison

The workout was for a ladder:

2×400 1×800 1×1600 1×800 2×400

The first set of splits is from this week and the second from the first track workout of this training season. This week is slightly faster but the main difference is how much easier it felt. A huge takeaway from this training cycle, is that hard workouts do payoff. Especially when you are willing to do anything to get faster, doing track and tempo workouts will give you gains.

I am not getting lost as much on my runs. After running these new (to me) Lakeland routes, I am generally able to get to my car without pulling out my phone and having it direct me. For someone who is as directionally challenged as me, this is a huge relief.

Futurama Running

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Recommend A…

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.
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. Four 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.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

I am working on a review for this one for my book blog (All The Stacks) but to sum it up, this book knocked my socks off. If you like Middle Grade Fantasy, this book is for you. Plus, book two, The Runaway King, just came out so there is no wait on that.

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Do you like Young Adult Dystopian books that are really dark and creepy? Please pick-up The Darkest Minds. This is a debut that you will be unable to put down. (To read all of my many thoughts on The Darkest Minds click here.)

Read any good books lately?

All cover images and summaries taken from goodreads.

Matched By Ally Condie: A Review

Matched By Ally Condie

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Series: Matched #1

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published Date: November 1, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie is a great addition to the ever-growing Young Adult Dystopian genre. It features a strong heroine in Cassia, who is very smart and slowly begins to recognize the truth about the world she lives in. I love to read female teen characters that have strength in their convictions and will do the right thing even when it’s hard.

On her matching day, Cassia finds out she is matched with Xander, her best friend. It is unusual but not unheard of for people to be matched with someone they already know. Cassia is given a disk with information about her match and when she views it another face is shown on the screen. A glitch like this is unheard of and it starts a chain of events that change Cassia’s life forever.

This book is difficult to put down. It really has it all forbidden love, a government that has a big secret, and a character that is put in an impossible situation. The normal awakening and awareness of self that one experiences in the teen years coupled with a forbidden love and a government that is literally out to get you, makes for an exciting read.

I am glad that the love triangle was dispatched quickly. Even though Cassia tries to imagine her perfect little life with Xander, she realizes that you cannot go back. That knowledge changes you.

This series is often compared with The Hunger Games but I think The Uglies Series is a much better comparison. There is a lightness here that The Hunger Games lacks. The dark things are just below the surface and will most likely rear their heads in books two and three.

Please join the conversation about Matched by Ally Condie on BlogHer.

If you enjoy reading about books, please find me on my new book blog All The Stacks.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

All images taken from goodreads.

Weekly Book Haul

I may have gone a little bit crazy buying books this week.

Stack of books

In my defense, many of these were purchased from the local used book store.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

If you haven’t read The Maze Runner (Book 1) and The Scorch Trials (Book 2), you need to get them immediately. This series is an exciting and mind bending read.

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

This is book two of The Mortal Instruments series. Book one, City Of Bone, contained both angels and incest. I am sure City Of Ashes will be full of surprises.

delirium by Lauren Oliver

I enjoyed Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver so much that picking up this series is a no brainer.

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorite books. I am typically not that interested in historical fiction but this well-written novel does an amazing job of tying together a modern-day story with a historical one with the pacing of a mystery. This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is a new to me author and one that is very popular. This book is a mystery for kids set in the Florida Everglades. I am discovering how much I enjoy children’s literature lately.

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson And The Olympians # 3) by Rick Riordan is another kids book on my to be read list. I loved the first two books and am sure will enjoy this new to me Percy Jackson adventure.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini first caught my eye as a movie.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story Movie

The movie came out in 2010 and I plan on watching it after I read the book.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is a another book turned movie. I have seen the movie and really enjoyed it. I am interested to see if the book is better.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness has occupied a spot on my to-be-read list for a long time. I have heard nothing by good things about this book and am so excited to finally get to read it,

What are you reading this week?

Book covers from goodreads.

Movie cover from IMDB.

 

The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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“Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.”

This is my first John Green book and if the others are as good as this one, and I suspect they might be, then the wild popularity and best-selling status is much deserved. The ability to write a story centered around teenagers who have cancer, one being undeniably terminal, and not allowing the reader to feel bad for them is a rare talent.

Death and dying is such an uncomfortable topic for most people that they usually can only deal with it in platitudes. One of my favorite parts are the expressions all over Augustus’s house (home is where the heart is and such.) It seems so lacking in light of the real life drama that Hazel and Augustus are living with.

The Fault Of Our Stars is filled with characters that feel very real. The dialogue throughout was perfect, witty and quick. The kind of conversations you remember from your teenage years when you could talk on the phone for hours.  I loved that the characters themselves deconstruct death in such a way that the reader is left knowing the hole left is with the living. Referring to the dying as a grenade which wreaks havoc on the survivors is such an interesting way to think about it.

The love story was beautiful without being cheesy. It is nice to read a Young Adult novel where the characters themselves are not so overly dramatic as to make their romance more akin to that of a harlequin novel (I’m looking at you Twilight.)

I loved everything about The Fault In Our Stars, especially the ending. It was perfect without wrapping the story in a neat bow. It is sad,  but you can believe that the characters are all the better having known each other.

All About Books

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews in which you post what books you received for that week. If you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr, I often post my book hauls and thought it would be fun to share my love of books here.

Library Books (Otherwise known as bring more books I purchased into the house may enrage my husband.)

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Can you believe that I have never read any John Green books? I am attempting to get through my current to read list (225 books according to goodreads) and picking up authors that I have not yet read. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green came so highly recommended, it seemed like a great place to start.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Sticking to my new to me author theme, I picked up Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. I read the reviews about this book when it first came out and they were so positive I immediately added this to my to read list. I just love the vintage feel of the cover and cannot wait to dive into a world of gators and theme park (luckily I live in Central Florida and am quite comfortable with both of those subjects.)

All photos courtesy of goodreads.

Goals Update

I am slowly inching towards the goals I set at the beginning of this year plus adding a few new ones along the way.

Read 100 books.

My reading challenge is coming along. I am so happy that my new job gives me some down time to read while at work.

2012 Reading Challenge

Turn the Polk County Young Democrats into a thriving and active club.

The clubs first fundraiser is happening next weekend and I am hoping for a decent turnout. It is a bowling fundraiser called A Strike For Democracy and if we get the turnout I am hoping for, we should have enough funds to start a website.

Election 2012 Haines City Office

Learn more about photography and photo editing.

I am reading lots of books on photography and following many photography blogs. I need to practice more but am starting to feel more comfortable with the camera.

Increasing my weight training.

I just finished a four-week weight training cycle with a friend from work who goes to the same gym. It is really great working out with someone who is very comfortable with weight training. My knowledge and comfort level with the machines and free-weights have gone up exponentially. Sticking to a plan and lifting heavier than I had been is giving me noticeable strength gains and more muscle definition.

A sub-30 minute 5K.

Have you been reading here awhile? This goal has haunted me all summer. I am so close but have yet to reach it. I know I need to push myself more when I’m racing but it really is hard. I’m afraid of not being able to finish or of getting a cramp if I run faster. I have a tendency to play it safe and stay comfortable. I know this will not work if I want to get faster. This goal is a work in progress and I may be struggling with it for the rest of 2012.

Get the house organized.

I have not talked about this but about a month ago when Florida was getting pounded by some torrential downpours, we noticed that cracks in our stucco was letting water into the house. It is mainly on one side, of course it is the side with our two offices and the master bathroom, and we had to move all of the furniture out of those two rooms and have the house inspected. One month later, I have all kinds of office furniture strewn about my great room and J and I are relegated to laptops on the dinning room table. The work on the house should be starting in the next few weeks and we have vowed after that to tackle the offices. There is nothing like living in an obstacle course of furniture to light a fire under your ass. I will say the cats love this new arrangement because there are new sleeping spaces and countless places to hide.

Tail Cute Cat Begging For Treats

Get a new wardrobe.

I have never been good a dressing myself. Shopping stresses me out and I have no idea what looks good together. I want to make more of an effort, so I started to follow some everyday style blogs and put together a Pinterest board of realistic clothes. Obviously, money is a limiting factor but I really need to learn how to put together simple, classic, and relatively inexpensive outfits together. Any suggestions for great blogs or stores would be greatly appreciated.

How are your 2012 goals coming?

Sick, Cranky, and My Husband May Want To Kill Me

Just kidding, J is actually kind of awesome when I’m sick. (As long as the Eagles are not playing of course.)

J hoping the Eagles will win

I have been sick with a head cold all week. I started to get a twinge of sickness on Tuesday and thought about delaying my workout.

Feeling a little sick but really wanted to run today. When in doubt, do you like to play it safe and skip your workout? #runchat
@ Depends what kind of sick. I have to admit that I usually sit it out when I am not feeling well.
@AHatfield08
Ali Hatfield
@ really depends how I feel, sometimes running makes me feel better, otherwise my body may be telling be to rest #runchat
@AngieMaskeBerka
Angie Maske-Berka

The lovely people who responded to my tweet about running when sick were right and I decided to take it easy on Tuesday. I thought the extra rest would cure me but I was wrong. Tuesday I was just feeling a little sick but now it is a full-blown eyes watering sneezing constantly head cold. So I have not been to the gym or out for a run since Sunday and I am getting antsy to move.

Two good things have come out of my recent convalescence. I had time to finish the Maze Runner.

The Maze Runner By James Dashner

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It was excellent and I recommend running (see what I did there?) out right now and buying this book. It’s a pretty quick read but really intriguing. I probably will pick-up book two this weekend because I need to know what happens next.

I had time to watch the pilot for the Dallas reboot on TNT.

Dallas on TNT

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I liked it very much and will definitely continue watching.

Jesse Metcalf With No Shirt Dallas

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Jesse Metcalf is pretty easy on the eyes plus he plays a character who is looking for alternative energy sources. A man after my own heart.

Do you get cranky when you’re sick?

Should Jesse Metcalf be allowed to put a shirt back on?

Born Wicked By Jessica Spotwood A Review

I recently won a book from goodreads. I love this site (not only because they gave me a free book) but because their app lets me scan books I want when I am out and add them to my to-read list. That way I never forget the name of a book or a new author.  It has grown my to-read list to ridiculous proportions (178) but has helped me discover (and remember to read) books that I know I would forget about.

The book I won is Born Wicked by Jessica Spostwood .

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

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Synopsis from goodreads:

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

The cover is my favorite so far this year. Besides the obvious beauty, it captures the freedom that Cate feels when she can be herself. Carrying this book around, countless people asked me about it solely based on the cover.

I loved this book and could not put it down. Jessica Spotswood creates this world where women are forced to keep quiet about anything that makes them special or calls too much attention. They must obey the men in their lives. Any deviation from the accepted protocol and they are likely to be accused of witchcraft. Women are routinely rounded up and sent away.

Cate, being the oldest of three, is the mother figure to her sisters after the death of their mother. Their father is mostly absent. Before she dies, Cate’s mother asks her to promise to watch out for her sisters. As the story unfolds, Cate finds out why her mother was so protective of the girls magic and warned Cate to be careful.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is an excellent mix of an interesting world, strong protagonist, and a love story. I am eagerly awaiting book two in this trilogy.

My Ten Step Plan For Having It All (And Still Having Time To Watch TV)

Just kidding, I don’t really have a ten step plan. I have been able to get to the gym before work one time this week which is a massive accomplishment for me.

Newt Gingrich Winning The Future

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(Sorry about the scary Newt. Just wanted to rub it in how no one is sad that Newt is no longer “running for President.”)

The plan is to get all my workouts in before work, minus whenever I work up the nerve to try my first spin class.

I am also going through this book and attempting to learn about weight training.

The Body Sculpting Bible For Women Book

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The Body Sculpting Bible For Women is extremely detailed in going over the proper way to perform the exercises and how to put together a weight lifting program. It’s been years since I had access to a gym and I want to make sure I am taking advantage of it.

I have had my nose in another book.

Eragon Book by Christopher Paolini

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Eragon has been out for years and I do not know how it escaped my attention. I am halfway through and it is just wonderful. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.

So lots of reading and lots of attempts at being the kind of person who gets to the gym before work. One day, I might even enjoy running on the treadmill.