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Review – Yoga for Runners – Christine Felstead

YfRYoga for Runners
Author: Christine Felstead

Description:
As a runner, you strike the ground 1,000 times per mile, with a force of two to three times your body weight. You can feel that impact in the muscles, ligaments, and bone structures throughout your body. Thankfully, “Yoga for Runners” addresses both the physical and mental demands of the sport. Whether you are new to yoga or have practiced for years, “Yoga for Runners” provides you with the most effective poses–88 poses in all. Each pose is described in detail to ensure correct execution, maximizing the physical benefit and decreasing the risk of injury.

You’ll learn how simple yoga techniques can be incorporated into your existing running workouts and routines to eliminate chronic aches and pains. Discover how each pose can be sequenced to address a specific need, such as strengthen and lengthen the hamstrings, strengthen and increase mobility of the hip joint, eliminate lower-back and upper-body discomfort, speed the recovery process after a practice run or a race, maintain a strong core, or just restore and rejuvenate to prepare for an upcoming event. These sequences target all troublesome muscle regions. Anatomical illustrations and descriptions explain why these poses and sequences decrease your risk of acute or chronic injury as well as why they are beneficial to your training regimen.

Review:
I say that I am inflexible is probably the understatement of the year. Similar to weight training, I find it really easy to not do my daily stretching in favor of getting another swim workout in, or going for a run. Partly because my dog tries to help (in the way only a German Shepherd can) and partly because if I sit down on the floor, 9 times out of 10, sleep is probably going to ensue (there is something about laying down that just gets me every time). But I came across this book at the library one day and I was intrigued because it talked about how you could squeeze yoga in to your daily life, which (for as obvious as it should have been) stunned me. My perception was always that I needed to dedicate an hour or so to go; find a studio that worked with my insane schedule, or buy/borrow a DVD etc. This book totally changed me mind on that.

While the first few chapters focus a bit on the history of yoga and its application to helping runners, the meat of the book is the later parts where it discusses all the different positions/postures you can do; what body parts each of them help with and towards the end simple progressions that can be done (some in less than 10 minutes) to help. So come back from a run, spend 10 minutes doing a quick set of sun salutations and move on – it is definately, something I know that I will be incorporating into my training.

Unfortunately for me, the book was a library book and i didn’t really want to/couldn’t photocopy all the stuff I wanted to – so I’m planning on ordering it and adding it to my growing library of training references. Like a previous review of a strength training book, this one is hard to rate until I have a chance to fully test out the various sequences, but never fear, I shall let you know.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Damoren – Seth Skorkowsky

Audies nominee paranormal

damorenDamoren
Author: Seth Skorkowsky
Series: #1 in the Valducan series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: R.C. Bray
Run Time: 10hrs 58min

Audiobook Review Copy Provided by Audible Inc

Description:
A secret society of monster hunters.
A holy revolver forged to eradicate demons.
A possessed man with a tragic past.
A rising evil bent on destroying them all.

MATT HOLLIS is the current wielder of the holy weapon, Dämoren. With it, he stalks and destroys demons.

A secret society called the VALDUCANS has taken an interest in Matt’s activities. They see him as a reckless rogue—little more than a ‘cowboy’ corrupted by a monster—and a potential threat to their ancient order.

As knights and their sentient weapons begin dying, Matt teams up with other hunters of his kind such as LUIZA, a woman with a conquistador blade; ALLAN, an Englishman with an Egyptian khopesh; MALCOLM, a voodoo priest with a sanctified machete; and TAKAIRA, a naginata-swinging Samurai.

As the hunters become the hunted, they must learn to trust one another before a powerful demonic entity thrusts the world into a terrible and ageless darkness.

Review:
I’ll be the first to admit that if Damoren hadn’t been nominated for an Audie (audiobook awards) in the Paranormal category, I likely never would have picked me up. None of my friends on Goodreads have it shelved (and I get probably 90% of my recommendations from there) and it likely isn’t a book that I would have come across easily in a bookstore or browsing on Audible, but now that I have listened to it, I’m glad I did and am waiting for the next book in the series to be available in audio (it was just released in print), so that I can get a hold of it.

I’m probably one of the few people in the world who can’t listen to music while suffering on the treadmill, but for some reason audiobooks work for me and I started Damoren at the same time I jumped on the treadmonster for a 4 mile run (I am totally sick of winter which is a whole nother story) – and my run just blew on by – I was so sucked into the story, that I glanced down and I was at 3.5 miles, it had just flown by (normally, I would have been like huffing/puffing and watching the distance count down). But Damoren sucked me in so quickly that I was done before I knew it and the ride just continued from there. For the most part, I limited my listening to the gym and occasionally part of my commute because I wanted something to look forward to (which of course, added a significant amount of time to how long it would normally take me to listen to an audiobook but it was worth it).

It is really hard to pinpoint what exactly I liked about Damoren – it was full of adventure, encompassing at least 4 different countries (maybe 5); there was lots of bloods, guts and killing as well as a plethora of mythical creatures – not just your normal run of the mill vampires and werewolves that dominate the fantasy landscape. I really liked the idea of the holy weapon’s that could kill these creatures – that was probably the biggest hook for me, Damoren being only one of them. One of my favorite parts were the flashbacks between the current day and the historical when Damoren was being created. I really hope that there are more books in the series based on the other holy weapons, especially the Samurai sword!!

The narration (by the fantastic R.C. Bray) was near flawless. I’ve raved about how much I’ve enjoyed his stuff before (see my review of The Martain and Damoren didn’t disappoint. In fact, with 2 other nominations in the paranormal category (one as a single narrator, and other in a cast), this audie category is his to lose (but hopefully that doesn’t jinx him). While my previous experience with R.C. Bray was primarily American accents, with Damoren, you got the chance to see the breadth of his skill, with Russian accents, german, male and female – it was honestly astounded how well he did in distinguishing between all the different characters and how well he transitioned between them during the course of the story.

Do yourself a favor – just listen to Damoren – you won’t regret it – if I had to try to provide context – take an author like James Rollins or Matt Reilly, mix in some Jim Butcher and you have a pretty good idea of where Damoren fits in the canon. 4.5 stars for the narration and 4 for the story. Now to hurry up and wait for the next book to be released in audio format.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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TBR Tuesday – 24 March 2015

TBR Tuesday
The Courage to Love
Author: Samantha Kane
Series: #1 in the Brothers in Arms series

Date Purchased: November 21, 2011

Review: Anyone who knows me will probably laugh when I say this, but this book had too much sex and not enough story. In fact if you were to remove all the smexy parts, the story would probably have only taken up about 40pgs of the 208 (in the paperback version). Don’t get me wrong, the author can definately write hot sex scenes, but there comes a point where there is just too much and unfortunately that was this book. I had a really hard time liking/sympathsizing with Kate and everything that she went through, even though I did like Jason/Anthony’s story. I won’t be continuing the series. Overall, 2 stars.

What book(s) did you find on your TBR pile this week?

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Audiobook Review – Mortal Heart – Robin LaFevers

mortal heartMortal Heart
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: #3 in the His Fair Assassin series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ¼

Narrator: Jennifer Grace
Run Time: 17hrs 52min

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Producer

Description:
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

Review:
The final book in the My Fair Assassin series has been a long time coming and it did not disappoint. I mean, Assassin Nuns (which I’m pretty sure I raved about in my review of book 1 in the trilogy). In the third and final entry, we get Annith’s story. Annith who has always been the steadfast supporter of the mission of the convent and who only ever wanted to carry out the mission she had trained for – but who was never given the opportunity. As with the previous books in the series, I was immediately sucked into the author’s method of storytelling. The visuals that she paints (and maybe this was due in part to being in audio) are just so vivid, you feel as though you are in France with Annith, Ismae and Sybella (who are featured in bk 1 and 2 of the series).

While the first book in the series was much more a romance, and the second filled with political intriguing, this one reminded me of a story of redemption; of finding your place in an ever changing world. There were so many different elements that combined together during Annith’s story to complete the story arc. Anne of Brittany’s story (hint, don’t google if you don’t want to know what happened to her) played a central role once again. Honestly, one of the things I loved about this series in general was how the author took characters who would normally be minor characters (handmaiden’s) and made them key to the success of the story.

Honestly, this is a really hard review to write because I loved the book and yet I’m struggling to say why I loved it. There was so much going on – all the various storylines from the previous 2 books were being tied up as well as Annith getting her romance (and boy did she ever). I loved how the story ended (although there was one little thing that I think could be fleshed out into a further book in what ultimately happened to the Abbess – but that is something for another day).

Jennifer Grace was a new to me narrator but it won’t be the last time I listen to her. One of the things I appreciated about this series was that a different narrator was used for each book (since they were all told via different POV’s), but at the same time, how well the narrators did keeping similar pronunciation through-out (so it wasn’t ear-jarring either). I liked how she was able to bring distinctive voices to all the various characters and I never really felt that I was getting people confused as I listened (which is key to stories like this with lots of political intrigue and character interaction). One of my favorite things about Jennifer’s narration was that she was able to capture Annith’s innocence in the world because she had been sheltered all her life (as compared to Ismae and Sybella who had had much harsher lives prior to the Convent).

I gave both the book and the narration 4.5 stars, but rounding down to 4. It didn’t blow me away like the first book did, but was still heads and shoulders above many books that I have read/listened to recently. I’m intrigued to see where the author goes next, now that this trilogy is complete (personally, I would love to see some more historical YA fiction in lesser written about time periods)

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship – Brittainy C. Cherry

totally ridiculousOur Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
All families have secrets, and Jules Stone’s is no exception. Deciding not to follow in her family’s Oscar-winning footsteps, Jules chooses to take a more behind-the-scenes career in one of the Top 10 Talent Agencies in Chicago. After being dumped five hours before spending Christmas with her dysfunctional family, she needs a plan to avoid their judgmental eyes.

Enter: Kayden Reece.

Kayden is the black sheep of his family, being the one actor drowning in a world of doctors and lawyers. Never really getting a jumpstart at his acting career or landing a big time role, he can feel his dad’s disappointment soaking into his spirit.

When Kayden gets a chance to meet and sign with a big name agent at Walter and Jacks Talent Agency, he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. Jules stumbles into the building in shambles, ugly crying, and begging to pay an actor a big sum of money to be her made-up boyfriend for five days, Kayden jumps at the opportunity—finally able to say he landed a role.

When secrets start to unravel, Kayden and Jules must learn that all families have their baggage, sometimes co-stars fall in lust, and it’s important to always have invisible mistletoe hanging around.

Review:
Sometimes when you are home with bronchitis and feeling cruddy, a cute romance is just what you need and Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship hit all my happy buttons. Last week I was lucky enough to get an unplanned 3 day vacation from work (unfortunately, not by choice) and while looking for something to read, I came across this book in Kindle Unlimited. Honestly, I think someone had recommended it, but darn if I can remember.

Anyways, I will admit that the title at first made me chuckle and then shake my head – because honestly, I was expecting a comedy of errors type plot device – I mean, at least, that is what I would image when you use the word ridiculous in a title. But it turned out to be a rather sweet romance – although I will admit that the secondary characters (family members mostly) were so whacked out that maybe ridiculous is an appropriate description.

While I’m not always a fan of the fake marriage/marriage of convenience plot device (I mean, since normally its needing to pose in order to get an inheritance or a job), in this case it worked for me, because it revolved around the simple desire of wanting to show your family that you are successful/loved etc. Yeah, maybe a bit cheesy, but when you are introduced to Jules family, you’ll find out why I say that. And opposite to that, there was Kayden’s family that was (pardon my french) a bunch of assholes (well, aside from his mom). They were the most obnoxious group of people I’ve read about in a good long while. One of the things I really liked about the book was that there wasn’t the huge secret/big misunderstanding trope that is used so frequently. While there was a bit of one, it didn’t take up the whole plot and was resolved relatively quickly.

Overall, a cute contemp romance that will just (hopefully) make you feel happy inside ;)

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Happy St Patrick’s Day

irish cupcakes

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way –
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
~Author Unknown

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Musings

 

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TBR Tuesday – 17 March 2015

TBR TuesdayTracker’s Sin
Author: Sarah McCarty
Series: #4 in the Hell’s Eight series

Date Purchased: Oct 1, 2010

Review: To say that I was disappointed in this book is an understatement. I remember a few years ago when I read books 1-3 in the series, I really enjoyed them and had high expectations for this once, because it was supposed to tie up the story ARC that had appeared in the previous 3. But it just felt like the author dialed this one it – the writing felt chunky, and didn’t flow well; the relationship between Tracker and Ari was blech and overall, just a let down. I’m undecided if I’ll continue the series or not – I know that I have book 6 somewhere on Mt TBR (and that would fit this challenge perfectly), but I guess time will tell.

What about you – Did you read any books off your TBR pile this week?

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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