Friday, November 13, 2015

Rousey My Fight/Your Fight

My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey

"Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life—in and outside the Octagon—reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world. "

Ronda Rousey is arguably the most powerful fighter in history, and yes, I am consciously saying history. This girl is unparalleled in her determination and drive. She has really inspired me, and countless others. She is a Bantamweight World Champion, but reading her story it is clear that she was cut from a different cloth from the outset. Her father's death rocked her family to the core, and though her mother was never the warm and cuddly kind, Ronda knew that she was loved and that her mother only wanted the best for her. In that way, I was reminded of my dad because even though it was not always what I wanted to hear, my dad was honest. He always knew what was best for us. If you were hooking up with some shclep, Dad was not quiet about it. He'd ask what the hell you were doing with that loser. When you become a parent, you realize so much more what your parents go through, and how their decisions are derived from wanting the best for you.

Most of us are weakened by simple aches and pains that we feel in our back, head, and toes. Ronda Rousey laughs at our perceived weaknesses; she'd dislocate a shoulder and still fight someone. I think the truth is that so much of what we endure makes us stronger, and the reason we hit rock bottom is because there is something there we need to find. Something about ourselves and our true strength can be found at the bottom of the barrel. That's the truth.

This book was read for book club, and I have a new-found respect for this woman. It didn't start out that way, but her story was an interesting one.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fit Reads Pick November/December

Fit Reads Book Club
November/December Book Choice

Ta-da! Two months is how long you will have to read Peter Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing, but I wish you luck if you think you will last that long with this book in your hands. Read this synopsis, grab a friend, and join in the fun! Fit Reads is the best way to combine your love of reading with a healthy lifestyle. 

A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. Fans of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train will love this modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—which the Washington Post said “should be a contender for crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014.”

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda's demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

I hope you will join me these next two months with Peter Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing and I will post some exercises you can do in your home or with a friend, as well as the reading schedule. 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Inspirational Books You Shouldn't Live Without

I always feel a bit of a slump when October hits. Everything in my life seems to slow down and even my internal speedometer starts dipping below full pace. Is that just me, or do we all experience this kind of life-slump? Let's operate on the "it's only me" assumption, and let's just say that you were in the audience last Saturday hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak about "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear." What you would have walked away with was the feeling that fear is a terrible passeneger in your life. The worst part about it is that no matter how hard you try, fear will always be in the car. You just have to get in the drivers seat every day and tell fear "I am driving today, so get in the motherf*%$#@ng back seat." I have sat in the passenger seat while fear drove my car around. Of course I didn't realize I was doing that, no one willingly lets fear drive their car around, but I was. I was awestruck listening to Elizabeth (yes, we are on a first-name basis...get over it) because I was hit with a "Yep. My God, yes. She knows me. She is boring holes into my skull with this fear stuff." I am going to be brave in spite of myself, and stubborn in my gladness. If you haven't already had a chance to pick up a copy of Big Magic, I recommend it.

In the arena of life, it isn't about how many times you get knocked down, bruised and battered as it may be...but that you keep getting up and going in to the arena knowing exactly what it is that you are about to face. I mean holy sh*$! Your area can be big, your arena may be small, but get your as in there and fight. Nothing in this world that was ever worth anything came to you easily. We have all had to fight for what we knew, somewhere deep in the depths of our souls that we deserved. We all deserve contentedness, and some of us have to fight a lot harder than others for it. Keep the fight going my friends. We will rise...though it may from ashes like Phoenix, we shall rise!

I hope this post has helped inspire you. You are brave. You are strong. You are worthy. You are enough.
Happy Reading!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

Cue Norah Jones' song, because this book will have you up reading into the wee morning hours. This was a selection for Fit Reads, our reading/fitness book club, and I am the worst leader, because I couldn't wait to finish it! There was a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and I did shed a few tears. Read the following synopsis and think about joining our Fit Reads Book Club for discussion of Karma's book!

An unexpected journey leads one woman to discover that life after loss is possible, if only you can find the courage to let go… 

One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined. 

Tegan is consumed by grief—not to mention her anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she's hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime. 

From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavors of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it. Heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly transporting, Come Away with Me is an unforgettable debut and a luminous celebration of the strength of the human spirit.

Thank you, Karma for a book that was totally worth sharing and working out with!
Fit Reads meets once a week, to discuss the book that has been chosen and to get a little work out in! It's kind of perfect. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Great Americans in Sports: Mia Hamm

This entry in a brand new line of sports biographies from Matt Christopher takes readers onto the field with a soccer legend
Mia Hamm's speed, aggressive play, and ability to "read the field" helped her become the best women's soccer player in the world. Her stellar performance as a college, World Cup, and Olympic champion made her a sports hero, and her story will inspire a new generation of young athletes. This comprehensive biography - with bonus photos and infographics - gives readers an up-close look at one of America's greatest soccer stars.

Pioneer of Women’s Soccer
Biography of Mia Hamm
Born March 17, 1972 in Selma, Alabama, Mariel Margaret "Mia" Hamm-Garciaparra is one of the best athletes to ever grace the US soccer fields. From the time she was born, her family knew and recognized her talents and abilities. Originally her mother, a ballerina herself thought her daughter would be a dancer. They soon realized that Mia was more like one of the boys. Mia came from a military family and it was during their time in Italy that Mia fell in love with futbol (as they say in Europe). She had a knack for being a smart player, and coaches began to see that this girl was something special. Mia Hamm was born in an era when soccer in the United States was not a widely publicized or viewed sport. There were no television channels that you could turn to and watch your favorite player enter the stadium and score goals for your team. It took decades, but that would all change, and in time an unparalleled soccer player would enter the US Women’s National Team and lead in to one of the most exciting televised sports event in history. She played for 17 years and won Olympic gold during her tenure as a US soccer player, and is respected as one of the best players that ever played. To inspire other athletes like Mia, this audio provides a glimpse into the life of an athlete, what it takes and how grit, determination, sweat and tears can make you resilient and the best at your sport!

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” 

  • Audiobook
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Imprint: Little, Brown Young Readers

  • Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman

    Today's feature is Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman. It's a bit of a throwback Thursday post since this is nearly a month after the release of the paperback, but just as Audrey is timeless, so is a great YA read. From the outset, readers are invited into a world where Manhattan's social elite party it up, clinking champagne glasses, and enjoying luxuries that the lower-middle class serves for them. The trays handing out those expensive beverage glasses are held by the hand of employees working three jobs to stay afloat. Would they trade places? Hmmm...this is the essential question.

    When you have Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's dress and gloves sitting in a box in front of you, the $923,187 price tag doesn't deter you when your best friend agrees to let you try on THE Audrey Hepburn LBD. The line "Ok.Try it on. But just for a minute" hooks readers into what is a whimsical tale of what happens on the other side. So the tale of Lisbeth Dulac unfolds and the problems of every day life take the back seat to becoming one of the most iconic characters to grace the silver screen. When you are from the land of too, make-up, and behavior, being a class act is what you desire. Lisbeth, inspired by Audrey finds out just who she really wants to be, but not before immersing herself in another world. If you are looking for an escape this New YA book will satisfy your thirst for a great read. Being Audrey Hepburn is now available in trade paperback from St. Martin's Press.

    Book Trailer

    Book Information
    Being Audrey Hepburn

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

    Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
    St. Martin's Press

    A master of fiction, Diane Chamberlain writes from her background as a therapist in this newest novel about a 14 year-old girl who learns about something taking shape in her family that threatens her father's life. I loved finding out about Diane's background because it helped me to understand her process for writing this novel. Molly is a keeper of secrets, and keeping secrets becomes difficult when you are trying to adopt a baby. Background checks, endless interview questions, it is tough trying to keep everything straight. Especially if you're trying to cover up secrets that have their origins in your childhood. It has been twenty years, and Molly's childhood in North Carolina that she has kept at bay comes screaming back in to the wheelhouse. It could not only destroy her marriage, but her chances for a successful adoption.As Molly struggles to come to grips, she must come to accept and work through her painful childhood without unraveling at the seams. Diane Chamberlain is the master of storytelling. Read the synopsis to see if this book may be something you'll want to add to your October reading bag!

    Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her.

    As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: Her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive. Her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues. The father she adored, whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge.

    Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.

    Told with Diane Chamberlain's compelling prose and gift for deft exploration of the human heart, Pretending to Dance is an exploration of family, lies, and the complexities of both.

    Happy reading!

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    Rising Strong

    Rising Strong by Brene Brown
    Penguin Random House Audio

    This audio has been one of the best books I have listened to in a very long time. I know it may have made me seem crazy to the people driving or walking near me, but I found myself nodding over and over again at the words spoken by the author. In just the title, the word rumble jumps out at me. Of late, rumbles have been my M.O. One thing I can hang my hat on is that I have always gotten up from the rumble and continued to fight. In this newest book, Brene revisits vulnerability and what it means in our lives. When you dare to be vulnerable, you are, on a daily basis, volunteering to get your butt kicked by people. The truth is, if vulnerability is part of your life, you will inevitably get knocked down. Life cannot always be sunshine and stars. 

    But, it is not so much about getting knocked down, but in showing up every day to be in the arena. Large or small, the arena is the test of strength. In theory, we show up to the "arena" every day. I feel like being vulnerable has allowed me to walk away the victor in the arena. I have been taking steps to put myself out there, and to be honest and open and to share some of what I have with others. Has that always made me feel accepted? Hell no! I feel like I have been virtually hit...hard. I would be lying if I said I did not feel bedraggled by life, and all of the troubles I have recently faced. But you know what? I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. The appropriate timing of this audio has provided a perfect ointment for the bumps and bruises of my life. Many thanks for the audio. I highly encourage you to get it for yourself. 

    Happy listening!

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

    Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg
    She Writes Press

    There are not many things that go straight to my heart like a story of a mother that struggles with health issues, and the thought of losing her children due to an unexpected death. Beautiful Affliction is that story. It is a memoir, but reads like you were sitting across the table from Lene. If you are a fan of memoirs, add this one to your TBR. It is not going to give you any comedic relief, and it is an open, raw, honest look at what happens when confronted with what could be the end.

    Lene Fogelberg is dying―she is sure of it―but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood―Will I die young?―is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late?
    Unflinchingly honest and often harrowing, Beautiful Affliction is an inspiring account of growing up and living on the verge of death―and of the beauty, harshness, loneliness, and, ultimately, unbending love that can be found there.

    Happy Reading!

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

    Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter 
     Harper Collins/William Morrow
    Hello my name is Melody, and I am a recent convert to the suspense genre. I am addicted, and I cannot tell you how much I am loving these new books. In what seemed like a long stretch of books that left me wanting more, this has been a breath of fresh air! I'll admit that at the beginning the simultaneous story lines forced me to focus, and it definitely was not my typical story, but overall this story was a great one. Once the two sister's story lines converged and you found their connection, you knew you must find the answers. How were the deaths connected? A true page-turning read. Darkly wonderful, but frightening. I was in!

    More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

    The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

    Happy reading!