Reviews

Books & Babes

booksandbabes

Books & Babes, where Allison, Brie and I chat about the best book we’ve read recently and what we’re looking forward to reading next. This is probably my favourite series on the blog and I’m so happy to collaborate with these two babes.

books

Becky: It seems like some kind of record that I managed to finish seven whole books over the last two months. The Girl in the Spider’s Web was the longest read and the biggest drag, I didn’t think I would make it through anything else. Suddenly my to-read pile on the bedside has dwindled and it’s time to make a trip to the bookstore. It was a struggle to choose a favourite because aside from One Day (my book club pick for March) and The Girl in the Spider’s Web, they were all great reads.

books&babes2-3

Favourite: In the runnings for first place were Inside the O’Briens (the first A Slice of Brie Book Club pick), Eleanor & Park (my #booknerdsofRD book club pick for April) & Attachments, which I won from a giveaway from Brie. All three were books that I struggled to put down and finished in record time. Ultimately, Attachments won, followed closely by Eleanor & Park. Turns out, I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell.

Looking Forward To: There are two books on my pile that I can’t wait to dig into, The Royal We, and Bird Box (Brie’s runner-up last month). I have heard nothing but good things about The Royal We but am so intrigued with Bird Box since I’m darkly into creepy things. I’m just not sure if I’m prepared for the weird dreams that are sure to accompany such a book.

books

Allison: The last two months can be referred to as “the nine weeks I devoured completely heartbreaking yet fabulous books with one exception”. Looking back I didn’t think I read 6 books, taking a break after the heartbreak of The Invisible Bridge and another break for the first two weeks of vacation (mostly because I was more enamored by US Netflix than not wanting to read…I actually brought three books on vacay and juuuust managed to finish Inside the O’Briens before Brie’s Book Club), but obviously I did, and I really loved most of them. I was in a bit of an historical fiction phase, could you tell?
Allison April
Favourite: It was easy to pick a favourite in my February round-up because I didn’t love most of the books I read at the beginning of the year. This time? So hard. I really LOVED 4/6, one was pretty good (Inside the O’Briens), and one was ok but painfully predictable (The Attachments). I dove right into The Light Between Oceans mid-February on the recommendation of…just about everyone I know. I think I read it in three days and stayed up till 2am on Monday/Tuesday morning to finish it because I had to know how it ended. Next I slowly but consistently read The Invisible Bridge. Wow. Seriously heart-wrenching, it tells the story of a young Hungarian Jewish architecture student whose life and understanding of the world around him is altered by WW2; at its core though, it’s a beautiful love story. The Nightingale? Excellent! I just finished When Breath Becomes Air; again, heartbreaking but beautifully written. I hear there’s a long wait list at libraries for this memoir so I would recommend you read Dr. Kalanithi’s essays in Stanford Medicine and The New Yorker.
Looking Forward To: I’ve finally cracked open The Art of Fielding; I adore baseball and figured it was about time I read this baseball classic. I just (as in, while I am writing this draft on Monday afternoon) got the notification that All The Light We Cannot See, which is also very highly recommended by my book-loving peeps, is ready to pick up at the library.

books

Brie: Since the last time we met to talk books, I’ve read a whopping ten books! I’m pretty sure this is a new record for me. Granted, one was a novella, and a few were audiobooks, but I’ve been doing really well at fitting in reading into my life. I’ve even managed to read a few books that have been on my own bookshelves for much too long, so I’m pretty happy about that.  I read a few duds though (Into the Abyss, The Best Laid Plans, and The Thief of Broken Toys), but the rest I really enjoyed.

loved both!-2

Favourite: I read quite a few good books this time around, but they were all so different. I think the two that stick out to me the most (yes, it’s a tie, and it’s a fair one since they are both by the same author and companions to one another), is The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom. These two books had me hooked from the beginning and I found myself reading late into the night for both of them. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, and while my favourite era has always been WW2, the times of the slave trade and the Underground Railroad is fascinating and intense, and I believe, an utterly important time to read about.

Looking Forward To: Re-reading The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami for my Calgary book club. I first read this book over ten years ago, and while I remember loving it, I don’t actually remember anything about it, so a re-read is definitely in order. I’m also looking forward to reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (just picked up a copy at the thrift store), and Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt, the next installment in my online book club!

booksShare with us!
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
What are you looking forward to reading next?

I received a copy of Inside the O’Briens for review, but all opinions are my own. Thanks, Simon & Shuster Canada! 

Random

Weekend Recap

As I draft this, I realize I was a bad blogger and have absolutely no photos from this weekend. I guess that means it’s wasn’t a very exciting weekend. It was rainy and dreary, which was perfect for laying low and being productive.

Friday
I picked Liam up from daycare and we hit the road to my parent’s place. I needed to get a tire fixed on warranty and Liam had been begging to go back since Monday. We ate supper as soon as we got there and Liam was in bed not long after that. I was so exhausted that I could barely make it to 10pm, reading and watching Amazing Race with my parents.

Saturday
I told Liam that instead of waking me up in the morning, he could go wake up grandpa instead. He missed the memo and came to my room before going upstairs and then later calling down to ask if I was awake. No sleep in for me. After pancakes and coffee (the staples at my parents), I drove to town to drop my car off. I got back to my parents just before lunch and Liam and I hit the road after eating.

I dropped him off with his dad and headed home to clean and do laundry. It was raining and it was really draining my energy and I ended up on the couch catching up on the last couple episodes of Scandal and getting some work done for most of the evening. I eventually poured myself into a nice hot bath in an attempt to finish my book. Spoiler: I didn’t finish.

FullSizeRender 40

Sunday
Up for Sunday Runday! Mary and I got through 10km before I came home and warmed up in another bath. This time, I did finish my book while eating my second breakfast. I eventually got myself out of the house and headed to a coffee shop to get some work done, run some errands and get groceries.

IMG_5568

I had totally run out of steam by the time I was home, I could barely will myself to make some supper and apple crisp for breakfasts this week. I contemplated my second bath for the day but ended up doing some blog work while watching more Gilmore Girls before turning in.

This morning I’m at the dentist getting some fillings that I’ve been avoiding for far too long so send me your best wishes because we all know how fun fillings are.

How was your weekend?
Any crazy weather in your area?

#sundayrunday

Sunday Runday #57

If you’re new to Sunday Runday, it’s a weekly running date for anyone and everyone to join. It doesn’t matter the distance, the time, if you’re brand new or a seasoned marathoner, heck you don’t even need to run. Walk, jog, run, spin, lift, bend, move. The point is just to have fun and motivate each other to get on our feet. Get out there snap a pic, and send me your mini recap to becky at thebexfactor dot com before 7pm MST every single Sunday to be featured in this post. Or, post to social media and share the link below. If you’re a fellow blogger, grab the banner and join the link-up with your favourite run chat from the week!

sundayrunday

Last week we were basking in 27° temperatures and this morning we woke up to snow on the ground. Only in Alberta. Luckily it was still above zero, the snow was melting at a rapid pace and the trails were clear. It was near perfect conditions for my 10km long run with Mary. There were tons of people out on the trails!

Every runner knows not every run can be a good run and I’ve been struggling with my last few runs. This run though, this one was different. Everything felt fantastic, we were running at a really good pace and I felt comfortable the entire time. We hardly needed to take a break at the halfway mark which is a miracle given I’m the queen of walk breaks. We finished 10km in 1:18, which, for a long, slow run, is great time. The only thing we need to work on as our mileage increases, is mapping out our trails because we are notorious for taking a wrong turn somewhere and being short on distance by the time we reach our finish point. This time we ended up throwing in a lap around a pub parking lot, which had me laughing out loud at how ridiculous that must have looked. And how strongly I was craving a beer.

SundayRunday57

 

IMG_5567

IMG_5569

From Dannielle:
10km… last time 8:48/km. This week… 7:41!!!!!!!!
13047926_10156846149120344_1241073249337265871_o

From my fellow Calgary Marathon Forerunners:
Peter – Just did 21.1, first time since October.
Rachel – Around 12k with a friend this morning.
Tina – 14.2km in Kananaskis!! Wet cold but awesome!!
13095738_10156864211945252_770062027704188412_n

Thanks to everyone who tweeted, IG’d and FB’d me your runs. I hope to see you all (and more!) next weekend!