Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: Divergent Movie by Veronica Roth

I didn't get a chance to see Divergent in the theater, but I LOVED the book.  I gave it 5 stars and couldn't wait to get my hands on the DVD.  I watched it last Friday and thought it was equally as good as the book, which rarely happens.

The casting was perfect!!  Here is a picture of Tris and Four!!

It has been a couple of years since I read the book, but it followed the story line very closely.  All of the Dauntless stunts such as jumping on and off the train, the zip line, etc. were very well done.  The fear landscape scenes were really cool to see as well.  There was a lot of action, which even held my husband's attention.  He isn't a fiction reader, so I never would have been able to talk him into reading the book.  As soon as the movie was over he asked if we could get the next movie in the series.  I guess I will not have any trouble talking him into going to the theater to see Insurgent :)

Here is a picture of the Abnegation costumes. AKA...the stiffs.

A training scene: 

And we can't forget the ferris wheel:

I am so happy that this movie did the book justice.  In fact, it has inspired me to finally read Allegiant.  I read the first two books as soon as they were released and I even pre-ordered Allegiant.  I was behind on some reading and by the time I was going to start Allegiant I heard some mixed reviews.  People either loved or hated it and I was afraid to find out which category I would fall into.  I've managed to avoid any spoilers, but I truly hope the series ends as well as it began.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Marathon Monday: Emerald City Quarter Marathon

On Sunday August 24th I ran the Emerald City Quarter Marathon.  This was my first race longer than a 4 miler, so I wasn't sure what sort of pace I would be able to maintain.  For most of my longer training runs I have been running just under 10 minute miles.  My goal was to finish in 1 hour, so I started with the 9:10 min mile pacer.  After about a mile that felt too easy, so I picked up the pace.

I ended up finishing in 58:04 and had an average pace of 8:52.  I was 23rd out of 217 females in my age group and was the 85th female overall out of 1,135.

Here is a picture of the start/finish:

The start of the race: (I'm in the black skirt and blue t-shirt in the middle)

The fire department ran a relay in their full gear.  They had two people waiting at every mile marker to take over.  

Approaching the finish line:

The post race celebration:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but it took the DVD release to finally move it to the top of my TBR pile.  I've read nothing but great reviews, but the subject matter and length of the book were major deterrents for me.  I remember watching Schindler's List when I was in college.  The movie was very well done, but it was heart wrenching to say the least.  I was not ready for a 552 page book that could possible lead me down the same path.

The story is told from Death's point of view and takes place in the late 30's to mid 40's.  Death was extremely busy during this period due to the events in Nazi Germany and the onset of WW2.  He first crosses paths with Liesel Meminger when her six year old brother dies on a train due to illness.  It is at his funeral where she steals her first book.  The grave digger drops his handbook and Liesel picks it up.  At the time she does not know how to read, but she cherishes the book anyway.

Her foster father, Hans Hubermann, is not the strongest reader in his own right, but he takes it upon himself to teach her how to read.  Each night when Liesel wakes from her nightmares, Hans is always there ready to read with her.  Throughout the book Liesel begins to understand the importance of words.  She not only enjoys reading, but she begins to write as well.  She even helps others cope by reading to them at their homes and in the bomb shelter during the raids.

Throughout the book we see what life was like for the German poor.  Children were starving and families were torn apart.  Any resistance to the Nazi party's wishes brought further pain to not only the resister, but their loved ones as well.  Liesel, Hans, and Rosa Hubermann walked an even more dangerous line.  They befriended a Jewish man named Max and hid him in their basement.

With Death as the narrator, I did not feel like the story was as heart wrenching as it could have been.  He gave the reader plenty of advance warning as to what was eventually coming.  There were no surprises like the one I received at the end of The Fault in Our Stars.  I had plenty of time to accept what was coming, but the last 50 pages still required tissues.  You will not want to read the ending out in public.

The epilogue leaves the reader on a happier note and provides a sense of closure to Liesel Meminger's story.  I just wish one additional detail had been provided.

Overall, this was an exceptional book.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and would recommend it to any reader.  I've already requested the DVD from the library.  I'm pretty far down the wait list, but I will post a review after I watch it.

Spoiler Alert!!!!  Do NOT read the following if you haven't read the book.  

Death said that Liesel was married and had three children before she died at a very old age.  He did not say who her husband was.  Even though there were several years between Max and Liesel, I think Max was the husband/father.  They obviously loved each other very much and had a wonderful friendship.  They both deserved happiness after everything they went through and I sincerely hope they found it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This is one of the books that I was really excited to get at BEA this year.  I loved Fangirl and couldn't wait to read her latest release.  When Flo told me she had to pull the plug after about 16 chapters, I was a little nervous.  I'm well aware of the fact that Flo doesn't usually care for books that do not follow a linear path and this is definitely one of them.

Georgie is in her mid 30's and is the mother of two young girls.  She works long hours as a comedy writer for a television series while her husband, Neal, is a stay-at-home dad.  He does an amazing job of taking care of the girls, the house, cooking, and in general holding the family together.  Just before Christmas Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, pitch their dream show to an interested network.  Now they need to write a few episodes to present at a meeting just after Christmas.  The only problem is that Georgie and her family were planning on traveling to Omaha to visit Neal's Mom for the holiday.  Georgie decides to stay in L.A. to work while Neal takes the girls as planned.

Georgie and Neal's relationship has been strained for a while and this may be the last straw.  Georgie tries to call Neal's cell phone several times after he leaves, but she can't get through.  She finally resorts to using her Mom's landline to call Neal's Mom's landline and miraculously she is able to reach Neal.  There is one apparent catch.  Neal sounds a lot younger than he does now.  He sounds like he did when they first started dating and his Dad is apparently still alive. (He died several years ago.)  Rather than finding a time machine, Georgie has a phone that takes her back to Neal as he was in 1998.  Will she be able to repair their relationship now that she knows how things play out 15 years later?  That is exactly what Georgie attempts to do.

The flashbacks allow the reader to see how Georgie and Neal's relationship developed and where things went off track.  The concept of a landline taking one back into the past is an ingenious idea in this cellular world.  Much like a Walkman or a VCR, children today probably don't even know what a landline is.

The only complaint that I have about this book is the fact that we don't get to know Neal very well.  We witness Georgie's struggles, but we don't know how the separation is affecting Neal.  Is Georgie reading more into the situation than is necessary?  Is she overreacting?  We don't know because we have no idea what Neal is thinking.

The separation is a reality check for Georgie.  She begins to realize what is most important in her life and I was happy to see her take action.  The ending was perfect, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.  If you enjoy Sarah Dessen's books, I would highly recommend Landline.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Marathon Monday: Training Update

I'm less than two weeks away from my quarter marathon and 10 weeks away from my half marathon.  Training has been going well.  I completed my first 7 miler this week, which is my longest run to date.  I felt really good during the run, so I'm feeling a lot more confident about the upcoming quarter.

Here are this weeks results:

August 5th: Distance 4.01, Time 38:58, Average speed 9:44
August 6th: Distance 5.08, Time 52.38, Average speed 10:21
August 7th: Distance 3.11, Time 28:47, Average speed 9:15
August 8th: Distance 3.00, Time 28:48, Average speed 9:35
August 10th: Distance 7.01, Time 1:10:31, Average speed 10:04

While my finish line is only the last 13.1, I felt like this was a very true statement.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Marathon Monday: Dublin Irish Festival 5K

The kick off for the Dublin Irish Festival every year is a 5K through historic Dublin, OH.  In the past, my goal was to finish in under 30 minutes.  Sine I have been training for the half marathon I have picked up speed, so I was shooting for under 28 minutes this year.  My 5K PR prior to this race was 28:46.

I started out the race with the pacer running 8.5 minute miles.  I thought that would be a stretch, but I would try to stay with her for as long as I could.  She pulled away slightly the last half mile, but she was still within sight at the finish line.

I had a finish time of 25:24.9, but my watch said the course was only 2.96.  If I adjust this time by an additional 30 or 40 seconds for the extra 10th of a mile, I was still two and a half minutes under my previous 5K PR time.  I was in the top 10 for my age group, which is a very impressive finish for me.  My husband was second in his age group and 20th overall with a time of 17:18.4.

Here are a few pictures from the event:
The post race celebration.
Stinger, The Columbus Blue Jacket's Mascot, at the starting line

Jay out on the Course
A couple of festive runners I saw along the way.