Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

Four To Score By Janet EvanovichMy library book *finally* came in and I was able to pick up Four to Score this week in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I never understood how people could get hooked onto this series until I got into them…. now I can’t stop!

In Four to Score we join Stephanie Plum in her hunt for Maxine Nowicki who stole a car from her boyfriend and suddenly disappeared. Maxine sends Stephanie & former boyfriend Eddie Kuntz on a scavenger hunt to get back “love letters” that she had that Eddie had written to her.

As the book unfolds wannabe bounty hunter Lula joins Stephanie along with a new friend they met Sally Sweet. As luck would have it Stephanie’s arch-nemesis Joyce is after Maxine as well causing quite the stir when they find her together on more than one occasion.

We also see the relationship between Stephanie and her cop friend Joe Morelli unfold a little more… well according to gossip in The Burg, a lot more. As usually Morelli learns not to ask questions as Stephanie gets herself into situations that no one could have predicted. While I wouldn’t classify this book at all as a romance novel, this book definitely was a step closer to one than any of the previous books.

This book had me laughing from the start. While they are a bit of suspense and mystery Janet Evanovich did a great job especially in this book bringing in humor. While it is hard to top Grandma Murzar as her fellow bounty hunter Sally Sweet was a great addition to the cast and crew of bounty hunters. I think this quote from the book sums it up pretty well:

“As if they’d never seen a seven-foot transvestite and a two-hundred-pound black woman with blond baloney curls all dressed up like Cher on a bad day. Do I know how to conduct an undercover operation,”

Each book keeps getting better. Usually in a series it is hard to top the first book as you get to meet and develop the characters but Janet Evanovich does an awesome job of getting you more and more interested. As soon as I finished Four to Score I was happy to have gotten a hold of High Five because I couldn’t wait to start the next one.

One of the many things I love about these books is that if you are having a bad day, you could pick it up, read for a little bit and say “well at least I’m not Stephanie Plum” digging through a dumpster (or whatever she has gotten herself into). The books are packed full of events and not very predictable to keep you guessing until the end.

You can also get this book in the More Plums in One 3-in-1 eBook or hardcover.

This book was my “Mystery or Thriller” for the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge & yes I have found ways to tie in at least 9 of the books to the challenge.

Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner

Meb for MortalsWith the Boston Marathon coming up I have been seeing a number of running pages talking about a new book out by 2014 Champion Meb Keflezighi. On a whim last week I decided to spend the money and downloaded my copy of Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner. I am very much not a marathoner nor do I have any intentions of ever being one. I am, on the other hand, training for my second half marathon which is taking place later this week!

Not fully paying attention to the book or the reviews of it I had thought that most of the book would be story telling about how he got to the point of wining an Olympic Medal, The New York City Marathon & the Boston Marathon. Completely proving me wrong, this book was all about training, recovery, goal setting & more.

Each chapter outlined important parts of any runners routine or should I say, parts of the routine that every runner should have. One of the best things about this book is that it wasn’t just for people who plan to run marathons. Yes, most of Meb’s races and goals are marathon based but he is able to compare how he trains to how someone should be training for a 5k or a half marathon.

I’m pretty sure some of my close friends are happy I’m done with this book, I’ve been driving them crazy for the last 4 or 5 days with text messages. There were a number of moments where Meb would say something and my response would be “that’s insane!” and immediately would have to text a friend. For example:

For some runners, a recovery day means no running. At times in my career, it’s meant 10 to 12 miles in the morning and 4 to 7 miles in the afternoon. Most regular runners fall between these two extremes.

Keflezighi, Meb; Douglas, Scott (2015-04-07). Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner (Kindle Locations 2717-2719). Rodale Books. Kindle Edition.

As I mentioned, Meb is very quick throughout the book to point out that “most runners” do not qualify for what he is talking about. Very few runners around the world are at the level he is at and chances are they are not the ones reading his book for tips.

I do like that Meb never says “this is exactly how you should run.” He reminds readers that he is outlining what worked for him, what works for him might not work for someone else. Meb gives examples of what some of his competitors do in contrast to how he handles things. I think this is incredibly helpful for anyone looking for different ideas to try in their training. Meb’s way works for Meb, but it might not work for someone else.

My favorite chapter in the entire book was the chapter on goal setting. Meb gives fantastic advice about how to set goals, yes plural. He is very big on never going into one race with only one goal. He suggests setting multiple goals in case your major goal doesn’t work out… you still have other goals to aim for and things to be proud of. One of my favorite quotes from the book was:

Most of us have enough areas in our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams.

Keflezighi, Meb; Douglas, Scott (2015-04-07). Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner (Kindle Locations 195-196). Rodale Books. Kindle Edition.

As someone who won the Boston Marathon 10 years after he won his Olympic medal, Meb is definitely someone who has been through a long (and not yet over) running career. He does point out how his training has changed over the last few years now that he is one of the older elite runners in the world.

Overall I think anyone who is a runner should read this book. I recommend the paperback copy and a highlighter. I have over 25 notes in my kindle and I think if I had a paperback copy I would’ve had even more, I just get lazy sometimes with the kindle!

On that note, go buy the book & good luck to Meb as he makes an attempt to defend his Boston title today!

Hot Mess Saturday’s AKA Fabletics Love

It seemed appropriate for hot mess Saturday's to have a mirror selfie

It seemed appropriate for hot mess Saturday’s to have a mirror selfie

I don’t know about weekends in your house, but in my house we take fashion to a whole new level. By fashion I mean comfort, because let’s be honest…. fashion is not my thing.

My newest Fabletics order came a few weeks ago and I love almost all of it. I got the OLYMPIC outfit and I wear the capri all of the time for running. They are incredibly comfortable and perfect for my morning runs.

The tops on the other hand are not necessarily ones that I would run in. I am fairly picky about my running tops (you wouldn’t know if you looked at hos many I had) but these tops are great for “hot mess Saturday’s”.

There is a tank top & a white t-shirt that goes over it. The t-shirt is not fitted by any means but is very light and comfortable. The tank top (blue) is a great razor back tank top that is a tiny bit fitted but not enough that you feel like you’re having to suck it in all of the time.

Both the t-shirt and tank top are airy so they have been great for the spring/early summer weather we’ve had around here lately. They’ve been perfect for bumming around the house, working in the yard and going for walks. In other words, they have been perfect for Hot Mess Saturday’s  where life is a day full of organized chaos.

With a tank top problem, I am not necessarily on the hunt for more tank tops but I feel like I could live in the white top this summer so I should probably invest in a few more.

What are your favorites? What have you been on the hunt for this Spring?

(Pants are Cropped Jersey Leggings from Old Navy)

April Friday Randoms

Do you ever have one of those mornings where you finish your workout and feel like your day couldn’t be off to a better start? You’re feeling great, the adrenaline is high & you are on top of the world… then reality hits and you have to be an adult & get your butt in gear for the work day.

That’s my Friday & it is full of randomness. While being an adult can suck the fun out of some days, I’m not letting it suck the fun out of today. Instead of Friday Favorites this week we’re going for Friday Randoms. Are you ready for a whole lot of random?sunrise-fogThe high today is 77…. yes you read that right, 77. I am almost finally ready to accept that Spring really is here and we might not have any more snow. Once we clear the month of April I will be even more confident that winter is finally gone. Hallelujah it is beautiful out today! This morning we had a beautiful sunrise nearby and the fog was perfect around it.

meb-on-kindle-newI started reading Meb Keflezighi’s new book Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner (full review coming soon) this week and I had to share this quote that pretty much sums up running for me.

“Most of us have enough areas in our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams.”
― Meb Keflezighi, Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner

I am the only person who sets my running goals. Yes, there are people who have motivated me to get to certain points but I only push myself as far as I want to go and I think his mentality right here perfectly sums up what it should be for anyone in a competitive atmosphere.

I won’t lie, reading this book makes me more and more excited to see Meb try and repeat at Boston on Monday!

french-braid-newThe last few weeks I’ve been kind of obsessed with french braiding my hair in the mornings. With my morning runs being anywhere between 4 and 6 miles I feel like I’m rushing to get out the door some days. It’s not pretty (at all) but has been a quick way to make me feel slightly more put together than just a pony tail. Let’s be honest, am I ever fully put together in the morning?

What random things are you up to this Friday evening?

Two Year Molars

They Start Teething....There’s a saying that has gone around social media: “How to tell if you’re ready for kids… chase a 2 foot tall person around for an hour attempting to put pants on them.”

Mix in staying up all night for about 11 months straight and you have the first two years of mommyhood. Except, there’s another aspect that people like to forget to tell you about…. teeth.

From what I’ve heard, all kids are different with teeth. Some never show that teeth are bothering them, some drool buckets but never cry and then there’s the kids who the funny eCards are made for. You know the ones who have every symptom ever created to go alongside teething

There’s an old wives tale that says kids tend to get horrible diapers when they’re teething. A number of doctors shot that theory down saying it’s a coincidence. The same goes for fevers. Call me an old wife but I believe both to be very true & ones we have experienced with every round of teeth.

Every kid is different, some are content with Sophie, some require rounds of Tylenol and teething tablets. Some have been known to point to the liquor cabinet know that it contains relief. From late nights to early mornings teething picks up around where the newborn sleep schedule left off.

Mommy friends, there is a light at the end of the teething tunnel… it’s called two year molars. Let’s ignore the fact that they are supposed to be are the worst of the teeth to pop through. Your toddler can now tell you that “mouth hurt” or will hand you their half chewed hot dog because “it hurts” when they’ve loaded it up with ketchup and bit down on a new tooth.

At the end of the day, they are the last teeth to come in for awhile and parents around the world can finally rejoice. Once the two year molars are in, we have officially survived infant & toddler teething. Chances are we can put Sophie away for awhile & hope that by the time they start losing teeth when they are older they don’t want her back.

Hang in there mommy friends, there is an end in sight.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret By Judy Blume

Are You There God? It's Me, MargaretAre You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a classic novel that all preteens and early teenagers should read. I am pretty sure I read the book somewhere in the past, to be honest I can’t really remember. I didn’t know much of the plot only that for some reason it was a banned book. As part of the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, one of the prompts was a banned book so I decided to pick this one up.

In Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret we follow Margaret Simon as she explores ages 11 and 12 in a new town with new friends. As she is learning about life in a small town vs. New York City she is also starting to question religion. Throughout the book Margaret prays to God and asks Him questions and favors. Her main favor throughout the book is bigger boobs and for her to get her period.

Margaret along with her friends Nancy, Janie & Gretchen are in 6th grade with their first male teacher. They are starting to crush on boys and even attend their first party at a boys house which consists of spin the bottle & lots of trouble making.

We are introduced at the start to Margaret’s position on religion. She was raised by two parents who believed it was up to her to decide what religion she wants to be. Throughout the book she explores various different types of faith and even decides to turn her back on God when her grandparents who she has never met before show up in the picture.

This book is one that I feel like all preteens should read at some point.  Not only does it give a funny & exciting side (and one that I would completely beg to differ with) to puberty but Margaret raises a number of questions about religions and life that are important for everyone to explore.

While I see why people potentially could say Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret should be banned, I truly do not believe this should be a banned book! Back in 1970, I could see it. Today, on the other hand, it should be off the banned book list.

Pepped Up By Ali Dean

Pepped Up - Ali DeanI’m a runner so when a free book pops up on Pixel of Ink that involves running I tend to download it pretty quickly. Earlier this week I saw Pepped Up (Pepper Jones Book 1) pop up as a free book (still free at this exact moment if you’re still looking) so I decided to give it a try.

Through Pepped Up we follow Pepper Jones in her junior year of high school as a member of the varsity cross country team. Her best friend Jace is a football player (senior) and a bit of a party boy. Pepper on the other hand is very reserved and would prefer to spend her nights relaxing with her Gram. While Pepper is admitting she has feelings for Jace, he on the other hand would be the last one to admit she is anything more than a friend.

Joining the cross country team this year is reigning high school cross country national champion Ryan. He recently moved to Colorado from California and has his eyes on Pepper. Jace is not exactly thrilled and is trying his best to figure out how Pepper fits into his life and what to do without her.

The book follows Pepper, Ryan, Jace & their friends through the twists and turns of high school, recruiting & competing at the national level of a sport. Pepper faces what a number of teens are faced in high school, decisions about drugs, alcohol and sex. As she navigates her junior year her original focus of becoming national champion has a few twists and turns a long the way.

Going into this book I had to remind myself on more than one occasion that it is geared towards Young Adults. There are characters in the book that you want to yell at but you have to remember that they’re in high school & well we all know how high school can go.

On Goodreads someone suggested that they wanted to slap Pepper throughout the book in how immature she was. I felt that way too on occasion but again, it’s high school and thinking back I could see where Ali Dean is coming from in portraying Pepper the way she did. Pepper, while immature, does face what a number of teens face, especially in a larger high school.

I would recommend this book to an older young adult (15/16) if they are looking for a “cheesy” quick romance read. I wouldn’t define it as a romance novel by any means but the love triangle between Pepper, Jace & Ryan does play out a lot through the book. There are a few sex references and drug references so I wouldn’t recommend it to a younger teen.

Book 2 (All Pepped Up) is already out and book 3 in the series is due out May 28th!

This book qualified as my “book with a love triangle” for the 2015 pop sugar reading challenge.

Friday Favorites AKA Is Spring Finally Here?

While we are probably still one more snowfall away from it officially being spring like weather, we’ve gotten a pretty good taste this week here in the Midwest. With a high of 74 yesterday I was so excited to be out and about and finally get our evening walks back on our schedule. Little man has been loving the ability to be outside at all hours of the day, I have a feeling there will be very little inside play for us this summer and I’m completely okay with it!

With another round of spring coming this week I’ve found a few more spring Friday favorites!

Maxi SkirtsMaxi Skirts

I am not a girl who wears skirts. In fact I hated skirts with a passion until I tried on a maxi skirt last summer. I always thought people were nuts for being obsessed with them. No one told me that it’s a way to wear yoga pants in a public place that otherwise wouldn’t normally allow yoga pants! I stocked up a few weeks ago at Kohl’s on some of the Sanoma Life Maxi Skirts and I was excited to finally break them out!

Running Clothes

Under ArmourAs per my hatred of skirts, it’s probably clear that fashion is not a top priority for me. After the last year of going to 30 different stores trying to find jeans that fit (still looking, btw) I usually wind up in the athletic section. I buy workout clothes for days. An unsupervised trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods yesterday resulted in a new running top that I’m incredibly excited about. I’ve been on the hunt for a good “spring” running top, not too hot but not quite ready for short sleeve/tank top weather yet. Under Armor was having a sale & I may have come home with the UA Tech 1/2 Zip Twisted top!

Evening Walks

Little man and I love our evening walks. It’s my time to wind down from a day at work and his time to ask questions. It felt so great to get back out this week. He did insist on pointing out EVERY SINGLE MAILBOX we passed, which in our neighborhood is a lot. Needless to say, I can’t wait to start going more often as the weather gets warmer.

Fresh Fruit

Winter is always the worst time of the year to shop for anything produce. I try and buy what I can but I get bored with apples and oranges pretty easily. The last few weeks we’ve been getting huge hints of summer by getting fruit that actually has taste. My husband brought home a pineapple earlier this week and it feels so good to have real fresh fruit back in our house!

What are your favorite things about Spring? Do you ever have problems finding pants that fit right?

Watermelon Days and Firefly Nights: Heartwarming Scenes From Small Town Life

Watermelon Days And Firefly-nightsOne thing I love about the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge is that it’s forcing me to break out of my typical “cheesy romance novel” books. As I “patiently” wait for book four in the Stephanie Plum series I’m working my way through some other prompts of the challenge. One is short stories & I caught the perfect book for it for free on Pixel of Ink one day.

Watermelon Days and Firefly Nights: Heartwarming Scenes from Small Town Life by Annette Smith is a book filled with short stories from a town called Ella Louise, Texas. With a population of 3,482 everyone know everyone and their business in Ella Louise.

The book opens with the Okra festival in Ella Louise, the only major event of the year. The summer event is meant to draw in people from other communities to experience the life of Ella Louise as well as their pride and joy, Okras.

Each short story tells the life of a different character. Some characters overlap stories, like Dr. Sarah Strickland. She seems to appear in 90% of them but only three focus on her and her family.

Stories in this book give you a warm fuzzy feeling about marriage & relationships. Stories like Faye Beth & Harvey. Every Tuesday Harvey brings Faye Beth a new bouquet of flowers. He changes it up every week, sometimes daises, sometimes roses. She displays them for everyone to see on her desk. The following Tuesday she discards the almost dead flowers and replaces them with the new flowers.

In return, every morning Faye Beth gets up and makes Harvey his breakfast. Many question her on this since all he eats is fruit loops. She explains that he likes them soft, so while he showers she fills the bowl up with fruit loops and milk so when he is ready to eat them, the have softened.

It’s not all good times, friendships like Tiny and Sugar remind you that sometimes you have to compromise for a friend. When Tiny needs a new kidney, Sugar is able to step up and help. Her recovery wasn’t easy but it was worth it she tells you.

As the book ends we are invited to experience the first (and flash forward to the fifth) annual gumbo contest. Our story teller never fully introduces himself but he (or she?) alludes to the fact that they are only a visitor who visits Ella Louise from time to time.

While you don’t become attached to one individual character throughout this book, it is possible to become attached to the small town charm they all seem to share.

Three To Get Deadly – Stephanie Plum Book 3

Three to Get DeadlyHave I mentioned that I’m completely hooked on the Stephanie Plum series yet? As soon as I finished the second book, I was debating on whether to wait for Three to Get Deadly to be available at the library or to suck it up and buy it on Amazon. Needless to say, Amazon won out.

Continuing where she left off Stephanie Plum is now after Uncle Mo of the local candy shop. He missed his court date and Vinnie (Stephanie’s cousin) Is not thrilled about it. One problem, Uncle Mo is now MIA.

As Stephanie starts her search for Uncle Mo various local well known drug dealers are suddenly disappearing. It seems like a stretch but Stephanie starts to connect the dots and they’re pointing down the same path she is searching.

No one around “the burg” is happy to know that Stephanie is trying to track down Uncle Mo. He is loved by many and they are doing what they can to protect him from his court appearance.

Instead of Grandma Muzar as her sidekick in this book, Stephanie relies on her new friend Lula. Lula is a former hooker who now works in filing for Stephanie’s cousin Vinnie. She is now wanting to train as a bounty hunter. As part of her “research” she also tries to befriend Stephanie’s mentor, Ranger. Lula adds a hilarious underlying storyline to the book and has very quickly become one of my favorite characters. The situations she gets them into are ones that can only happen to Stephanie Plum.

Throughout the book Stephanie continues to explore her “friendship” with Joe Morelli. The two have a history from grade school, high school & most recently a few other Failure to Appears. They step a little closer to more than a friendship but Janet Evanovich sets you up to want to continue the series right away.

Now I’m on hold at the library for book four. Fingers crossed it comes soon. Three to Get Deadly ended with a slight cliffhanger and I want to know what happens in Four to Score.

This book was my “Book You Can Read a in a Day” For the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge.

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