Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In April 14, 2017

Yeah, basically…

Sleep

Week April 14 ActiveWeek April 14 DistanceWeek April 14 Steps

On the plus side Leap4Life is working pretty well for me after a small hiccup of trying to hold myself back so future challenges have easier goals. I have joined a team and have successfully completed several individual (I even got third place in one event!) and team events. I am staying well hydrated, and my weight is holding reasonably steady. Basically, I am just pushing on. I’ll be going in for allergy testing and starting back on allergy shots this week hopefully. I don’t know if it will help the sleep thing, but it certainly can’t hurt. So that’s the update.

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In April 7, 2017

I went ahead and got an immediate jump on April so I didn’t find myself in the same boat I was in the last couple of months. And it was nice, I knocked another minute off my 5K time. You forget just how…well not exactly easy, but, relatively effortless it is to improve your times when you are first starting out. It requires no special training or regimens. Those first few runs are just about proving that you can do something you were probably convinced you couldn’t do. Bodies are amazing things, Then once you do it, you realize you CAN do it. Those first few tries are so fantastic because they aren’t magical unicorn personal best times that will require extreme dedication to pull off again. You just have to pull on your shoes (or not as the case may be) and get out there. It is fantastic, heady stuff.

April 2017 5K Stats

Stats: Week April 1-7, 2017

April Strut My Stuff.png

I met my goals, so that was good. And for the month of April I am going to try to do at least a dedicated running/wobbling mile each week, if not an outright 5 K. Just kind of took it easy and let this past week or so be a refeed as I was stressed. On the sleep front, Fitbit has been promising sleep stages, which I still haven’t got.

April Week 7 DistanceApril 7 Week StepsApril 7 Week Active

I have also started doing some other stuff to earn money with my FitBit.

Walgreens Balance Rewards-gets you store credit.

Achievemint.com which gets you points that you can send money to Paypal.

Bounts-Which doesn’t have a ton of things you can get with your points, but you can use the pints to enter challenges and chances to win things.

HIGI-Which you earn points for activity, and also checking in at Higi stations, and for joining Challenges where you may win prizes. They also have a “store” to spend your points, but that is mostly a few discount codes. But if I am ever to pull the trigger on a Withings Aura, it is nice to known I can get 20% off.

AARP Rewards for Good-not that great of redemption program, but still it is something.

Leap4Life-This one I am super new to, so I am not sure how it will go, but it is more social than the other programs, and I think you can redeem points for giftcards.

 

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In March 31, 2017

March-5k-2017

March 5K

Whoohoo! I’ve knocked almost 5 minutes off my 5K time! And my actual running compared to my power walking is much more distinct. I mean it looks like actual running-like activity. Plus my heart rate was much more reasonable for what I was doing and I suspect I was at much less risk of giving myself a heart attack. It is absolutely amazing how much difference 16 pounds can make when you are trying to lug it around a track.

Stats: Week of March 25-31, 2017

Not too shabby for a presentation and traveling week.

Week March 31 ActiveWeek March 31 StepsWeek March 31 DistanceWeek March 31 Sleep

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4.5 star review, Miscellaneous

Review – The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

I8

The Unyielding

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one….

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Erin “Fire Hands” Amsel is a bit of a dick, ok, not just a little bit, but a real dick. She messes with people because she can, She’s A.D.D. extreme with a snarky attitude and a puckish sense of humor, and I ADORE her like the sun!. Of course being that we share a name, I was predisposed to favor her, but I have enjoyed her offbeat worldview from the start of the first book, and this one just makes it better. This is book 3 in the series, and while perhaps they can be read as standalones (I mean each book has its own story arc that is complete), I discourage it in this case because there is an overall arc Laurenston is building, and relationships that won’t exactly make sense without reading them in order.

So, a quick primer: imagine a world where are the gods are real, albeit flawed creatures. Powerful, but unable to act on the world except through their human intermediaries. And I mean all of them, Christians, Hindu, and most importantly; VIKING. Yes dear gentle readers we have Viking mythology on steroids…and probably some LSD. And needless to say based on the Nordic Pantheon, their human clans are NOT the best of friends.

And once upon a time, while the Viking clans were doing what they do, Skuld-Norn of Fate, occasional Valkyrie rider, she who cuts the thread and sometimes unweaves what her older sisters make, decided to dip her hand into influencing the humans. Of course, being sometimes bent of humor, as little sisters tend to be; she didn’t pick pure bred rape loving Vikings. Nope, she picked only women, only slaves and the abused who had mostly been killed, with a motto of “Let rage be your guide.” whose avatars are crows. Who says fate can’t have a sense of humor?

Now the purpose of the human clans is to prevent the end of days (Ragnarok for the vikings, but if any one religions end times come it would actually create a cascade of all religions end times), and to find the gods lost items of power, and to train as warrior when Ragnarok does come. Basically, they are all hitmen and women for their respective gods. The Crows, due to their history are just a bit more of hot messes than the rest of the clans though, but seeing as how rather than being born into the life, they are REborn into their second lives, they make the most of it.

So there is an overall big baddie they are trying to fight who we meet in The Unleashing; along with the first heroine Kera (a former Marine) as well as the Ravens who are hot as hell burly Vikings and owe their fealty to Odin-and which sets you up to understand the Clans and all the mythology. In the next book, The Undoing, we get to know Kera’s teamate Jacinda Berisha (former cult leader’s wife and Berserker), as well as the Protectors, who are OCD book loving Owls owing fealty to Tyr-and which sets us up for an upcoming showdown. And now we have the The Unyielding, which pairs up the meanest of the crows with the angriest of the Vikings-a pairing guaranteed to set sparks firing.

Seriously, these two can’t STAND each other, and it is hilarious. But with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, of course they both have to step up, and of course they fall in love and discover the secret things hidden in each other. (Dude, the angriest viking ever is so freaking adorkable!)

Here’s the thing, and why I adore Shelly Laurenston. Her heroines aren’t demure, or sweet or any of that. They are large and in charge and take no crap from anyone. And the snark; it abounds. So don’t expect sweet romance or angsty “will we wont we”, these are women who know what they want and will damned well TAKE it if they want it. I LOVE these women and I reread Laurenston’s books regularly. All I can say about this story, like I say about all of them, is buckle up for a violent and hilarious ride full of crazysauce along with the plot pets (this one has goats!), and prepare to have a good time.

So the world is saved for another day, hero and heroine are happy-ish (I mean come on, you can’t expect hearts and flowers for the dick and the angriest viking-but they seem to enjoy it), and prepare to get ready to save the world all over again tomorrow.

Interestingly, I have absolutely NO clue who the next book will be about, which is unusual for me. Will it be the former sociopath turned psychologist Crow Annalisa? The socially awkward and OCD Owl, Bear. The hypochodriac Crow Maeve? The booty shaking, dancing man and accountant Raven Siggy? Some odd and hitherto never guessed combination? Honestly, I have absolutely no clue, but with a cast of characters like this all I can say is I am so ready and will be thrilled no matter who it is, because Laurenston never disappoints.

The Unyielding (Call Of Crows, #3)

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4 star review

Review – The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Book of the Unamed Midwife

Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

This was a hard review for me to write. I did read it a while back, at the start of my slump when a change seemed as good as a rest (and I enjoyed it), but then I struggled to find what to say about it. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and no one feels fine. The titular heroine of the story, the unamed, gets sick in a world going mad and wakes up at the literal end of the world. Women are mostly dead, dying, or enslaved. Babies aren’t being born. And men are grabbing all the power. Into this world the unnamed goes forth hidden as a man.
The tale is mostly told in epistolary form, and it actually mostly worked for me. The book starts 100 years in the future with scribes recopying the unnamed’s diaries. And with that introduction we are jolted into this world. It is dark, gritty, sad, and much of the time horrifying. Realistic is probably the right word. Don’t expect a happy ending, or romance. Don’t expect reunited lovers. This isn’t this book.
What it is, is a “smart” book that delves deeply into gender role, survival, and the slide into superstition when science is lost. And I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book, but there is really no one to root for and you already know no one is getting their happy ending. So if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary as a palate cleanser, then this is worth a look. Now, I understand there are other books in the series, but this one I think ends in the perfect way, so there is no sense that you actually need to read the sequel if you don’t want to, and I probably won’t.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere, #1)

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In March 17, 2017

So, except for sleep (I really despise Daylight Saving) this was a pretty good week for me, physically. Eating wise I took a serious break, because heck, I wanted to. Cake an ice cream for the win! If I have relatively maintained my weight I will be happy enough. This has also been my first major travel since I started Fitbitting, and I think I did pretty well, all things considered.

FEB-2016-5K-1February 5K

The time was pretty reasonable considering I stopped to chat with a random neighborhood dude and forgot to pause the tracker. Also, I must have been wearing it funny, or the relative cold made it go wonky, because I was sweating like a beast and my heart was pounding. So, that is my February make-up, and I will need to do March’s next weekend. Time does tend to get away.

Stats: Week March 11-17, 2017

Week March 17 ActiveWeek March 17 StepsWeek March 17 Distance

Week March 17 Sleep.png

 

 

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