Review: “Here I Go Again”

I am a huge fan of Jenn Lancasters. Always have been, and likely always will be. I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to be a part of this months BlogHer Book Club reviewing her newest fiction novel Here I go again.

“Every high school has a Lissy Ryder. You might have known her as the Prom Queen. The Mean Girl. The Bitch. Lissy Ryder spent her teen years making yours miserable. But you escaped her. And even though you went to college, grew up, and got a life, every now and then you wonder if that thing called ‘karma’ ever comes for the Lissy Ryders of the world. 

Rest assured it does.”

In Here I Go Again Lissy Ryder travels back in time to undo her wrong doings after  disastrous high school reunion right after she loses everything. She encounters one of her teenage victims, who gives her the capability to go back and change destiny. Except Lissy realizes that her bullying had a purpose and propelled so many people to amazingness, and wants to undo her undoings. All works out in the end and she realizes everything really does happen for a reason.

Not gonna lie, I had a hard time getting into this. I found Lissy to be a bit…unsympathetic at first. Annoyingly so. But as the book went on, I found her attempts to right her wrongs and make life better for all a bit endearing. After all, I think anyone who was ever bullied in high school (can we talk about how I am so glad that my generation didn’t have to deal with technology and social media? Bullying in my day was taunting, dirty looks, gossip and banal pranks. None of this viciousness with facebook or anything…thank sweet jebus.) will agree that everything happens for a reason and that karma is a total bia. But having a bully realize her wrong doings and trying to right her wrongs, well, that’s what every bullying victim hopes for (too bad it doesn’t happen nearly that often).

You can join in the BlogHer book club discussion here. Additionally, if you haven’t read Jenn Lancaster’s other books I highly recommend them and for you to check out her hilarious blog and twitter!

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post however, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own. 

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Hills Hills and Jennifer Weiner?

The other night, in prep for the 5k we’re running this weekend and the hills that I’m expecting on my triathlon course, hubs and I decided to do a naval academy bridge run.

For those of you unfamiliar with this bridge, it’s a beast.

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We went down and parked at the parking lot of Naval Bagel on Taylor Avenue and ran over the bridge. We had a good pace going. Then we went up. Then not so good. We walked a little down to slow down our heart rates. Then ran back up. On the other side we stopped again for hydration.

We stopped to check out the overlook. Then we SPRINTED. OMG for half of that quarter mile incline I was keeping an 8:30/mi pace. Holy. Freakin’. Shit.

I hated this. We ran past the Severn Inn twice. We stopped at the top four times. I was burnt out. Hills that I used to be so good at once upon a time now make me struggle.

That being said. I was sore for a good day and a half after. I felt really good at the end. And I feel really good for my triathlon. Because I don’t need to run the whole way just keep moving forward. If I have to walk? Walk. I don’t have to sprint, I’m in this race to finish not to be number 1. That’ll be for the next one (though with the Huffster I will likely never be #1 in a tri…someday I’ll get a big girl bike…). I’m considering a 2nd tri at the end of August, but Adam won’t let me register until after I complete the first one. Kind of like how I didn’t sign up for marathon #2 until after I finished marathon #1.

So pretty!!

I skipped workouts yesterday in favor of going to DC to hang out with Lexi for the evening. A couple weeks ago, we had both purchased tickets for Jennifer Weiner at 6th and I for her The Next Best Thing tour.

I’m a HUGE fan of Jennifer Weiner, and have been since college when I first started reading her books. I think Good in Bed
was the first one I read while on coop one year. I read all the time when I was on coop because of the commuting.

She was incredibly well spoken, witty, funny and candid – everything you want in a writer. I personally, would love to sit down with her and my now decomposed book club and share a bottle of wine and talk about great books, authors and trashy television. Ahh dreams.

There were two cameras. Lexi’s got the better picture of her, and mine got the better picture of me. Jennifer just looks awesome in both.

All in all, an awesome night in the city. Lexi, we need to reinstate the book club. Even though it’s most definitely not the same without C.

Do you have a book club? Who’s your favorite author??

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Book Review: What Alice Forgot

I love those books that you can’t put down, I tend to just get engrossed in them and lose myself in the stories and lives of the characters. Recently, I had the opportunity to read What Alice Forgot by Liana Moriarty for the BlogHer Book Club and I couldn’t put it down.

I found it to be one of those books that you didn’t know what to expect. It opens with Alice losing her memory by falling off a spin bike, and waking up thinking it was 10 years earlier. No recognition of her children, the way she dresses, or the fact that her and some of her closest friends and family are in cahoots. Not to mention the fact that she’s in the midst of a divorce. Her journey to remember why things are the way they are and how things have changed in the past ten years is not only heart wrenching, but also hilarious.

Imagine having to piece together your life, remembering emotions but not events or people. Imagine realizing how you acted in those ten years was horrible and leaves you feeling nothing but ashamed. That’s what we see Alice do.

An added bonus of the book? Takes place in Australia. Ahhh I love foreign fiction sometimes, when it puts in a life and place that you could only otherwise dream of.

I highly recommend What Alice Forgot. Get to know the characters and lose yourself in Alice’s innocence as she gains back ten years of her life. While you’re at it? Join the BlogHer Book Club Discussion!

{FTC disclosure: I was compensated for participating in the BlogHer Book Club however, all thoughts and opinions here are my own}

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{Words #febphotoaday}

{words to live by from Kelly Cutrone “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside}

Goals and dreams to me are meant to be challenging. Figure out what works, what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to cry a big fat ugly cry while you feel hopeless and lost and feeling like you’re never going to go anywhere. It’s all temporary. All is not lost. You will get there. Don’t fret because your life isn’t perfect at 25, there are 50 year olds who still don’t have their shiz together.

These are lessons I continue to learn and have reinforced every. freakin’. day.

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Summer reads

 

I’m getting better with the quick, easy and healthy meals. I mean it helps when you get home before 8pm at night. Tuesday  night we had english muffin pizzas.

We used:

3 whole wheat english muffins
pizza sauce (i used about a T on each muffin)
fresh basil
cherry tomatoes sliced lengthwise (it’s what I had)
fresh mozzaralla (sliced)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy (not burnt!) And wham bam thank you ma’am. Another speedy meal!

Last night we met up at Ram’s Head with one of my old co-workers who will be housesitting for us while we’re out of town. Can’t have my plants dying on me now can I?

So the lovely people over at Simon & Schuester contacted me regarding the paperback release of “Last night at Chateau Marmont” which my sister recently gave me (birthday or Christmas) in hard cover. I loved it. Lauren Weisberger wrote “The Devil Wears Prada” which is quite possibly one of my go to feel good books. Not to mention I watch the movie pretty much every time I have a day off.

So this book is another feel good beach read, perfect for a mindless summer.

So, because I already have a copy of this book, I thought I’d give away a copy to one lucky reader! So tell me what YOUR favorite summer beach read is in a comment here. For an extra entry? Tweet  “@missheidi is giving away a copy of “Last night at Chateau Marmont!” http://ow.ly/5u4dv”
I’m off for another #tripnorth  so posting will be rather light over the next couple days. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday when I return to start my month of swing shifting it (1p-10p ICK!) thankfully…I will survive and at least for July, I don’t need to get up at 5:30a to go running! #winning right?

Right.

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Reading…

I’ve been so behind on my goals to read 52 books this year – last year I clocked in an amazing 48 books (so very, very close) unfortunately, working on the floor 30ish hours not including the hours i work at home or the classes I take, means I usually clock 40-50 hour work weeks or so and with no commute to be found, I don’t find much time to read anymore.

Thankfully, I occassionally get asked to do awesome book reviews (thanks TLC book tours!) – so today, I reviewed Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera over on the review blog. She’s offering 30% off over at www.everythinginever.com by entering coupon code “Dina” at checkout. So go check out my review and Dina’s blog!

{FTC disclosure: I did receive this book for free however, all views are my own.}

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Book Review: “Not That Kind of Girl”

I’m a big fan of memoirs. As I learned in a seminar I went to last night about “writing and publishing a book” everyone has a story to tell.

It’s incredibly true. So I recently I finished Not that Kind of Girl: A Memoir by Carlene Bauer.

She tells her story of being raised by an Evangelical mother in New Jersey. Her mother, who endlessly wishes nothing more than for her two daughters to not become “that kind of girl” quite literally – and we all know exactly the type of girls she’s referring to. We’ve either seen them or been them. But that’s not it – she eventually explores her own beliefs, values and widens horizons both spiritual and intellectually. Turning down drugs and sex politely and never with judgment. She belatedly comes of age in New York City on her quest to be a writer (because those stories aren’t a dime a dozen in Manhattan) and makes up for lost time – finding a soul sister in alcohol and meeting men who she doesn’t end up falling in love with – but still holds her value of waiting for love to have sex near to her.

I enjoyed the storyline, sometimes it got a bit wordy for me, but the writing was good. Carlene has a compelling voice to captivate her audience and a unique story to tell. Falling in love, finding yourself in The City in your twenties is a story told often but with her unique voice and values, made it a very worthy read. I sometimes struggled with her wordy descriptions and sometimes too deep explanations but overall, it was an enjoyable read.

4 out of 5 stars

{This review is a part of the TLC Book Tour thus I did receive a copy of the book for free – however all opinions here are my own}

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BOOK REVIEW: Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

So I recently finished (well, last night so yeah. Recently) Jennifer Weiner’s new book, which was sent to me to review. {I was not paid for this reveiw, the thoughts expressed here are my own, however I did receive a free copy of the book from the publisher which values around $14}

First of all, I am the BIGGEST Jennifer Weiner fan. I fell in love with her novels sometime during my first co-op in college with “Good in Bed” and I’ve been hooked ever since and own each and every one of them. So when I got an email to review her new book I squealed like a little pig with excitement.

Her new book (which will officially be released on July 13th) entitled “Fly Away Home” follows the lives of three women – Sylvie, Lizzie and Diana – a mother/daughter trio. Sylvie, the mother of the bunch is publicly humiliated when her husband – a powerful Senator – admits to having an affair with a staffer. Sylvie, after “standing by her man” Hillary style, heads to the beaches of Connecticut to find herself and figure out for once in 32 years what it is that SHE wants. Lizzie, the family mess as she’s often described, finally gets her life together until something happens and she realizes she can’t runaway anymore and Diana, the trophy daughter as she’s often described, falls for a forbidden fruit, and when he rejects her, she has to find what’s important in life – happiness, and what makes her happy. The three women finally rally behind each other after they find out what it is that’s going to make them each happy and the importance of family – especially mothers and daughters – when you’re getting through life’s trials.

I loved it. I devoured it in about three days, which given my lack of free time lately, is pretty good for me. Jennifer Weiner has an amazing way with making you (the reader) feel like you GET the characters. She has an amazing knack for writing out emotions so that you can think “I’ve been there…” and really feel what they’re feeling. While the plot may be defined as “chick lit” I consider her a step up from all that. A step up from the average chick lit novel, with much, much better plots and character development.

I HIGHLY recommend this book – mostly because I’m a huge Jennifer Weiner fan and thinks everyone else should be too, but seriously, her writing is amazing. I have to admit, I did enjoy this book a bit better than Best Friends Forever, which came out about this time last summer. “Fly Away Home” will be out on July 13th, so count down the days or preorder it from Amazon/your favorite bookseller!

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Book Review: Just Don’t Call me Ma’am…

A while ago, I was contacted to review “Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am (How I ditched the South, Forgot my manners, and managed to survive my twenties with (most of) my dignity still intact)” by Anna Mitchael.

Let’s get to the point: I loved it. Seriously, I couldn’t get enough. Anna’s writing was humorous, snarky and had a very Jenn Lancaster-ish vibe to it. What I mean by that, is that she’s relate-able. I adore author’s – especially memoirists, who are relate-able.

The book documents her twenties, starting with a nasty break up, going through job loss, dating, and then of course, going back to the place no one wants to go to when they’re a college graduate…back to mom and dad’s house.

The book also goes a lot into her relationship with her grandmother and how she shaped her life from a very early age – teaching her manners, how to treat others, and how her grandmother supported or in some cases, didn’t support, her decisions in life. But the anecdotes, are really what make the book, seriously. How she decides to take up cooking to impress the boy who eventually leaves her; her adventures into online dating; and how she decided to move north. Just because she’d never been.

It was very real and throughout the book I kind of thought to myself “I’ve been there…and this is exactly what it feels like.” She’s real. She doesn’t sugar coat life, but she does leave you feeling like you want to be her new bff. No lie.

“It’s like my grandmother says, “If you’re not going to bother to learn from your past, there’s no real point in struggling through any tough times that appear in the present.” And now, I will sleep easier knowing my brother did not ingest all those tira-mud-su pies in vain. I’ll sleep longer knowing that if I accidentally sleep in past breakfast, maybe that simply means I’m destined to meet the love of my life while I grab an early lunch.” (p.105)

I HIGHLY recommend this book for any twenty something who wants to see what life is like on the other side. Seriously, we’ve all been through the same crap she went through, and it is just that, it sucks. Break ups suck. Losing your job sucks. Moving back home whether it’s the week after graduation or a month before your thirtieth birthday – sucks. But she makes it all humorous. She adds a light hearted side that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with your gal pal talking about it all over a couple of margs. You can buy the book over at Amazon here.

{FTC Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I was sent a free copy of the book valued at 16 big ones, but the opinions here? Are all my own}

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And the book goes to…

Hey everyone,

Going to keep this short. Sweet. And to the point.

The other day I reviewed the book Size Eight in a Size Zero World by Meredith Cagen. I also promised to pay it forward and pass the book along, so, the winner of my random book give away is…

Jennifer from H0tmess.net!

Send me your address gal and I’ll get it out to you soon (and by soon I mean when I go to the post office next, which will be when I buy envelopes. Which should be next week. 🙂 )!

Life is c r a z y b u s y, with only two days until Liz‘s weekend of bridal awesomeness (shower/bachelorette combo!) which I am beyond stoked to host – but oh man. Lots to do!!

My life has, for the past couple weeks essentially been: Work. Work. Junior League. Work. Clean clean clean. Work. Junior League. OH YEAH I HAVE A HUSBAND! Dog. Husband. Clean. Work work work. Junior league. RUNNING!!! (cause oh yeah, I have a marathon in two months! And a half in ONE MONTH! EGADS!!!)

The best part about the madness however? I love each. and every. Minute. Whether I’m actually AT WORK in Greenwich or if I’m writing at home for one of my many writing obligations (blogs) I love everything I do. I feel incredibly blessed by this all but I wouldn’t change a minute of it.

I get off by having a crazy busy life – I did in college when I was juggling a social life, an off-again-on-again relationship, multiple leadership positions in various student organizations on and off campus, a full class load and did I mention a thriving social life? But? I loved it. I wouldn’t change any of it.

Now if you’ll excuse moi, I’m going to get out of smelly work clothes, and get my butt to have a brewski with hubs before the craziness of the weekend begins.

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