MALLORY’S FEBRUARY WRAP UP + MARCH TBR

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BOOK REVIEW: EMBRACE THE SUCK BY STEPHEN MADDEN

20525598Title: Embrace the Suck
Author: Stephen Madden
Published: 2014 by HyperWave
256 pages
Source: Published
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Embrace the Suck is Madden’s personal memoir of his venture into the world of Crossfit. In the past year and a half I have really gotten into fitness but I have never worked up the courage to try crossfit, so I figured why not start reading about it to see if it is something I would be interested in doing. And let me tell you, from the sounds of this book it does not sound easy or even fun at all, but I still very badly want to try it.

I knew nothing of crossfit so I enjoyed him explaining how it works, like with the WOD (workout of the day). I found it to be quite motivational. Madden was a lot older and not as fit as everyone else he worked out with, but I loved how he replayed his thought processes about not giving up. Your body can withstand a lot, it’s your mind that you have to convince.

This was a very fun, quick and easy read. If you need some motivational reading, you should probably check this out. While reading it I found myself relating and then when I finally finished all I wanted to do was go for some long sprints and lift some heavy ass weights.

I rated this book a 4/5 stars and recommend it to those of you who are fitness obsessed like myself!
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BOOK REVIEW: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE BY DIANA WYNNE JONES

Howl'sMovingCastle_B_PBTitle: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Published: 1986
302 pages
First in the Howl’s Moving Castle series
Source: Purchased

Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three daughters, meaning if she chooses to leave home to seek her fate than she is doomed. One day, into her family shop comes the Witch of the Waste and unfortunate circumstances lead Sophie to turning into an old lady. Unable to tell anyone that she is cursed, Sophie sets out to find help. She travels to the moving castle, home of Wizard Howl. He is rumoured to eat the hearts of young girls but Sophie knows there is a chance that he could help break the curse. What she discovers about Wizard Howl is far different than what she expected.

I’m going to start out my review by saying I went into this completely unaware of what this story was about. I have never watched the anime by Studio Ghibli, nor had I even read the synopsis of the book. But while I was on vacation in Victoria, B.C, I went into Munro’s Bookstore and when I saw Howl’s Moving Castle I knew it was coming home with me. The new covers are absolutely amazing, easily one of my favorite covers ever.

Moving on to the story. I did find the beginning a little bit slow. I was far too anxious and excited about getting to the appearance of Wizard Howl and kept wondering when he would show up. But once he finally came into the story line I was hooked. Our main characters Sophie, Howl, Michael and Calcifer were amazing and so loveable. Not to mention hilarious. I found myself giggling out loud more than I thought I would. There is one part worth mentioning and that is Howl’s drunk scene. I laughed so hard I started choking, It was perfect.

This book really sparked my imagination and made me feel like I was a little girl all over again. I recommend this book to those of you who feel like going on a journey back in time and feeling like you are young again!

I can’t wait to get my hands on the Studio Ghibli film to watch the characters come to life! And I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

I rated this book a 4/5 stars.

Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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FRIDAY READS (#17)

What is this?! Mallory is actually making a post?!? Sorry I’ve been absent lately, but full time work and full time school has been leaving me basically no free time. I haven’t been doing much reading at all unfortunately. But this weekend I plan to utilize my time a lot better and get some reading done!

I’m going to be working on two books this weekend. First is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (click here to find it on Goodreads). I bought this when I went to Munro’s Book Store in Victoria last summer so it’s about time I finally get to this one. Plus I really want to watch the Studio Ghibli film and I won’t let myself until I read it!

And second one I’ll be starting is The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger (click here to find it on Goodreads). This is our discussion book of the month and I’m super excited about this.

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What are your plans for the weekend? Are you reading or do you have other things on the go? Let me know in the comments!

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BOOK REVIEW: THE MINE BY JOHN A. HELDT

19353394Title: The Mine
Author: John A. Heldt
Published: February 2012
290 pages
Source: Author
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
A story of time travel, family and love.

Joel Smith is a confident college senior who decides to take a trip with his best friend before graduation. Seeking adventure, Joel finds himself exploring an old Montana mine. However, when he exits the mine, things aren’t quite the same as they were when he’d entered. He soon learns that he is no longer in the year 2000, but in 1941. This travel through time leads to many wonderful relationships, one of them being with a much younger version of Joel’s grandmother. Joel has no trouble fitting into this time period as he befriends a wonderful family and friends. Of course, Joel can’t possibly stay in the past forever, he has a life of his own in the present, but he’s grown so attached to his new family and lifestyle that it is hard to imagine his life any other way.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The writing was extremely well done and the story pulled me in from the moment Joel discovered he was in 1941. I had predicted it to be about a mine and time travel, though I never imagined there to be a love story involved. The romance had caught me by surprise and had really pulled me into the story. Needless to say, Joel and Grace had my full attention.

Every character was complex and had an interesting backstory of their own. Joel was both intelligent and funny, he brought joy to many characters in this book. Known for seeking adventure and taking risks, Joel also had the heart of gold and genuinely cared for his new friends. Tom and his father accepted Joel right away, taking him into their home. Tom’s girlfriend, Ginny, and her group of friends were no exception. That’s how he meets Grace, and it isn’t not long after that that Joel begins to fall in love with her. The author did a remarkable job at bringing these loveable 40s characters to life.

It was extremely fascinating to read about a young boy meeting his grandmother in the past, when she was only 21 years old. I loved learning about her friends, her first love and her life before her children and grandchildren came along. The old 40s setting was very captivating and the mystery behind the time traveling mine was more than enough to keep readers interested. The entire time that I was reading, I wondered if what Joel was doing in 1941 would affect the future. Not once did I feel like I knew what was about to happen. The author kept me on my toes and in the end, I still didn’t know what choice Joel would make.

Mr. Heldt, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read about Joel’s journey. I assure you that your story will not be forgotten. It has given me the urge to pick up more time travel related novels and I would be happy to read your second book in the Northwest Passage series.Readers, if you are interested in getting into the science fiction/time travel genre and have a love for romance and great characters – this book is for you!

Mallory’s thoughts:
Joel Smith is thrown 60 years back in time after entering a mine as a strange planet alignment is occurring. From 2000 back to 1941 , Joel is left with no money (that he can use) and no place to stay. He parks himself on a bench to sleep for the night when he hears a fight going on. Coming to the rescue of a boy named Tom, who decides to take Joel home with him to his family. From there we follow Joel as he tries to make a life for himself in a time that is headed straight for war.

Time travel books can always be iffy for me, but I’m happy to report that I fell in love with this one. I’m going to start out by talking about the setting. I loved the feel of the book and how easily it shifted from modern time to the 1940’s. The detailing in the writing was done so well that visualizing was so extremely easy that I felt like I was watching a movie.

Moving on to characters. To put it simply: I fell in love with all of them. They each had a purpose and characteristics that stood out. They each felt like a friend that I took my time getting to know. Joel was one of my favorite main characters to read about. He was so genuinely selfless and thoughtful of everyone other than himself. He was very refreshing to read about. The Carters (Tom’s parents) gave the book such a great feel too. They brought Joel into their family and home even though they didn’t know him and yet they acted as true parents towards him. My heart melts when I read about characters like them.

The romance (as Maria said in her review) was quite a shock. I was not expecting it at all and yet it just clashed so well with the whole story. I loved Grace and Joel together as a couple and what they brought out of each other.

I am so happy we were contacted to review this book. It was the perfect start to my 2015 reading list. An easy 4.5/5 stars for me. And thank you so much to the author again for sending this our way!

FRIDAY READS (#13)

Nothing quite like getting a long weekend! I have four days off so I plan on doing lots of reading, blogging and planning, my favorite things.

This weekend I am going to be continuing The Mine by John A. Heldt (click here to find it on Goodreads). This is one of our review books for the month sent to us by the author. I am about 33 chapters in and REALLY enjoying it. I read this every night before I go to bed and I read until I literally cannot keep my eyes open anymore. I hope to finish tomorrow and then I am going to continue on with Stay Out of the Basement by R.L. Stine (click here to find it on Goodreads).
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Let me know what you guys are reading this weekend or if you have any recommendations for me!

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