Book Reviews: January 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Today I'm throwing it back to the beginning of the year.  Unfortunately, I did not have a good start to the year as far as books are concerned.  Luckily it started looking up in February!

I fell really hard for this book!   This is the first book I've read by Ann Brashares since the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, so I wasn't really sure what to expect but I must say, I'm impressed! I have thought about what it would be like if you were born again and were able to "re-do" life knowing what you know now.   This was definitely an interesting take on reincarnation and a very good story; I loved reading about Daniels life over time in different parts of the world.  I loved Lucy/Sophia and though I did find Daniel to be a bit whiny at times, who could blame him?  I read more about this book because of the cliff-hangers ish ending and apparently it was supposed to be a trilogy but since it didn't sell that well, no sequels have been released which is a shame!
I gave this book a 5/5 on my Goodreads

I had a hard time starting this book and had actually tried reading it once before and didn't make it though the first few chapters.  It turned out to be just OK and a little on the silly side.  Most of what I liked about this book had to do with the description of chocolate making and the observations on Paris.  There were times when I really felt like I could see Paris.  I liked that both of the characters were passionate but other than that, they weren't my favorite.  Like I said, this book was just OK.  I wouldn't not recommend it but I also wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it. 
I gave this book a 3/5 on my GoodReads

I really wanted to like this book and there were a few things I liked but for the most part it was ... meh.  I did like the insights into German life after WW2 and the collective guilt about the Nazi regime.  I didn't really like much else about it, though.  The book was fairly short but the language was pretty dry so it was hard to get through.  It also didn't help that I didn't like any of the main characters, and the affair between them seemed to happen way too abruptly - it didn't seem to occur naturally.  Also, just after reading the description, I could figure out what Hanna's secret was - or at least have a good idea - so the twist wasn't much of a twist.  I can maybe understand why some people liked it, but it just wasn't for me - it was way too metaphoric.
I gave this book a 2/5 on my GoodReads.

Meh, I didn't really care for this book at all and to be honest, the only reason I finished it was because I was reading it as part of a book challenge.  I feel like it had a lot of potential but just didn't live up to that potential.  I was never on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, and I didn't really connect with any of the characters.  I also didn't care for the ending and my opinion of this book may have been slightly different if the ending was strong.  I was just really let down by this book and definitely don't plan to read the sequels. 
I gave this book a 2/5 on my GoodReads

My Passions

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

 I love to travel and it's a love that started when I was very young and traveled to Canada.  I love going somewhere that I've never been before.  I love meeting people whose way of life is different than mine.  I love learning about different cultures and hearing stories from people who live so far from me.  I love the experiences and the knowledge and acceptance I've gained from traveling.   Each of my trips have been a unique experience that I'll always treasure and the people I've met will always have a place in my heart.  I also think that due to the nature of some of my travels, I have a different perspective on things than others on certain subjects.  Because I have witnessed such extreme poverty, I have learned that I need to be grateful for what I have and I do not concern myself with things such as brands or having the newest "thing".   I've learned that I can live minimally and still be happy.  I get by on what I need and the rest of my money gets donated or put in savings.   Travel can teach so much and that is definitely something I am grateful for.

 I love to read, and do so every chance I get.  I am one of those people who gets so lost in a book that if you try to talk to me while I'm reading, I probably wont hear you.  I love being transported into someone else's world and going through the ups and downs with the characters.  It also amazes me, people's ability to write these stories!  J.K. Rowling just amazes me, the world she created is so complex and detailed and I'm amazed at her ability to create that world in a way that feels so real to the reader.  I often get so emotionally invested in books but I love that.  I still get sad thinking of Dumbledore and Fred.

 I love animals and usually like them more than people.  I am passionate about animal rights because for the most part animals are defenseless against humans.  Dogs are so loyal and trusting that humans have the ability to take advantage of them and break them.  Horses are such beautiful animals, but are often mistreated especially in the racing industry.  Elephants are incredible creatures but people kill them for money.  It absolutely breaks my heart and infuriates me that people can be so selfish and hateful.   Most of my donation money goes towards animal shelters and rescues because I want to help give a voice to those who can't speak.  Also, I make myself aware of the products that are tested on animals and am sure to avoid such products.  There are lists online that I check quite regularly - I just started doing this within the last two or so years, so I am definitely still learning.

My wellness has always been important to me, but I've really become passionate about it within the last few years.  My Mom was a personal trainer, so I knew how to eat right and I've always known my way around the gym.  I don't have an epic weight loss story or anything because I've never been more than 10lbs over what I should be - and I am definitely grateful for that.  I do, however, know people who have struggled to lose weight simply because they didn't know the correct way to do it and were discouraged when the stupid fad diet they tried didn't work.  I think it's so important for people to be educated about the truth behind the food we eat and weight loss.   It kills me when people show me their "healthy" meals (which they truly believe are healthy) and there is nothing healthy about it.

Where to even start with this one?  Lets just say I'm a little bit of a hippie.  I believe in buying organic food products.  I believe in spending the few extra dollars to buy reusable bags.  I believe in reducing the amount of plastic I use in my daily life.   I believe that our environment is worth protecting.   It's a lot easier to be environmentally friendly than people think it is and I believe that once people see how easy it can really be do reduce their carbon footprint, maybe they'll think it's worth it. 

All of these things are things that I am passionate about and things that you will probably be reading a lot about on this blog. 

The First Post

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hey new friends ... and old friends.  When I stopped blogging a few months ago, I had no intention of starting back up again.  I was still reading my favorite blogs but other than that, I was pretty much over it.  Then big life changes happened that made me rethink that. 

Lets start from the beginning.  My Husband, Josh got laid off from his job on June 11th.  We were expecting it to happen at some point (we both worked there) but we were expecting at least another month, which would have given him time to find another job.   That very same day Josh called our local Army Career Center and made and appointment with a recruiter - something we had been talking about long before the layoff.  On June 15th he talked with the recruiter and started the enlistment process including making an appointment for MEPS on June 22nd.  They took him to Fort Meade, MD Sunday night and he took his ASVAB and did his medical exam on Monday.  He did very well on both but had a high wax build up in his ears and they wouldn't clear him until he got them cleaned so his recruiter took him to have that done but the Dr. had left before they got back.  So, the following Monday the recruiter took him back down to MEPS to get him signed off on that - they lost his paperwork so it took longer than it should have but he got signed off.  He met with his recruiter the next day to pick a job.  Since the job he picked requires a high security clearance, I'm going to refrain from posting what he picked until I know how much I can share ... I will say that it's very cool and I'm thrilled that it's not a combat MOS!

Tuesday July 7th he swore in at Fort Meade.  For anyone who doesn't know, MEPS is the worst place ever!  I was told to get there at 11 because the swearing in happens around noon - yeah, I got there at 1045 and he didn't swear in until 315.  Thank God for Harry Potter.

He was supposed to have his flight physical within 10 days of swearing in but leave it to the Army to make us wait almost a month.  His first flight physical was on August 10th.  After a month of waiting his first flight physical happened and went well.  He then scheduled the next one for August 20th which would be the last one.  When he went back they had to redo his blood because he had high blood sugar and cholesterol and also told him that he needed to go see a dentist.  Once the dentist sent their paperwork, he'd have the results in 3-4 weeks (he went to the dentist on the 24th).  Ugh.  I was hoping that when I launched this blog, we would have answers, but the Army had other ideas.  So that is what has been going on with our lives pretty much all summer.

I started to blog again because I want to document our lives in the Army, however long that may be.  I also want to be able to keep our families and friends up to date once we inevitably move.  That being said, this blog will mostly be daily life things and travels within our new hometown, wherever that may be.  So, welcome to my new blog and I hope you enjoy!

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