Are We There Yet?

Another hump day, eh? I’m just wrapping the day up and trying to decide how fancy I want to go for dinner. I am having a few rough Whole30 days. Sort of getting sick of the meat-n-veggies all day e’ry day, you know? And it’s not just that. I can always find something to eat that makes me happy.

Like sashimi and a side of steamed broccoli, courtesy of date night! Don’t worry, I packed my own coconut aminos (much to Hulk’s amusement, “Really? That’s a thing?).

But I have a major feeling of “I’m not there yet” that’s bugging me. Not just the end of the 30 day program, but the fact that it’s Day 21 and I am still having major food cravings and non-healthy tendencies that I was hoping I was sort of over already. Hello, extinction burst. I felt so amazing so soon this round, that I figured the rest would be all happy downhill-ing on a flying unicorn.  Not so, it seems. My sleep the last few nights has left a little to be desired. Trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night (but I go back down again right away), and not feeling rested when I awake. I’m suspecting a little life stress is the culprit. Add to the table the fact that I’m having a hard time socially with not going to lunch with the team at work, passing up on the occasional happy hour, and avoiding some social situations because avoiding food seems like more work than just not going to the event.

I also am not sure how I’m going to handle the reintroduction period. My 30 days is up two days before Hulk and I leave on vacation for a week. Originally, I wanted to do a proper 10-day reintroduction protocol where I introduce one eliminated food at a time and see how I handle it. But with travel, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to eat clean enough to do a proper evaluation. So I can just do the best I can and go through with the reintro, stay as Whole30 as I can on the road and just accept that it won’t be as clean as I’m used to, or say “screw it” and eat whatever I want because hey, vacation!

Fortunately we’re going to Alaska, so I have a feeling the food choices while limited should have some healthy options (ALL the salmon!) and I shouldn’t stress about eating Whole30-ish. Then I can pick it up when I get home. But I don’t want to stress about food during a legit vacation, either. If it was just work travel or something that’s one thing. But a big vacation to a dream destination we’ve been planning for months makes me think again on how big of a stickler I want to be about food. I just want to enjoy what the area has to offer, and not have to stress, “what kind of oil did you use to cook that chicken?”

Whole30 veterans, how did you handle reintros? I have yet to do a “proper” one.

Go make it a great day!

Picking Up

Yesterday I picked up my Couch to 5k again and went for a run before work. I did 1.72 miles, and wished it was a bit longer. Once I get moving in the morning, I really like running. The trick is to talk myself into getting out of my warm, cozy bed when my brain still thinks it’s too early. Stop it, brain. We have things to do.

  
I’m on Day 20 of Whole30, and the past several days have been a struggle. I am having regular cheat dreams where I binge on whatever I want. Last night it was fun size candy bars on a sinking ship.  There’s a metaphor for you. I can’t make this stuff up. Anyway, this Whole30 has been easy to stick with only because I’m so doggedly determined to follow through. But I am pretty mentally exhausted from telling myself, “no, why don’t you have a can of tuna on some lettuce instead” all the time. I just want to nuke a frozen corn dog and call it good. But it’ll make me feel crappy, so I nuke a chicken apple sausage instead.

  
What do I do to feel better about food? Get new food! My Tin Star Foods ghee came, and I am now in blissful butter-flavored heaven. All the ghee. It’s stupid expensive – came out to around $16 per 1lb jar – but I am so happy for a different cooking fat other than coconut oil. Sometimes I use olive oil for variety, which contrary to other stuff I’ve read is perfectly safe to cook with. But I’m to the point where I need some variety, and ghee delivers.

  
Another way to keep it interesting when I’m feeling “meh” about a Whole30 meal is to indulge in favorites. I didn’t pack a lunch yesterday, and the thought of a tuna salad depressed me. So I threw in some almond butter, a fruit salad, and splurged on some Epic bacon bites which are a new obsession.

  
Bacon. In bite form. 100% compliant with no added sweeteners. Zghomg.

I can’t get anywhere better after that so go make it a great day!

Back to the Barbell

Hello, old friend.

  
Yesterday I woke up and decided it was time to Lift All the Things. Squish and I headed to the garage gym for a good lift. Of course Squish came along because 1) he is now my alarm clock without fail coming in my room every morning at 6:30 and 2) to Squish, the garage is like a mystic land of enchantment with so many mysterious objects to play with and ponder.

My reentry into the world of weights is loosely based on a recent grocery shopping experience. I went to the store to grab some Whole30 grub for the weekend. Since in my head I forget that I no longer live in the city and don’t need to physically carry all of my groceries home, I just threw food into my reusable grocery bags and when they’re full, I’m done shopping. I had two very full bags when I decided to grab a couple cases of sparkling water. I figured with a bag on each shoulder and a case in each hand I can do this, right? So I squatted on the floor to pick up the cases … And I could barely stand back up. So now I know that my one rep squat max is approximately two bags of groceries and two packs of soda, and I should probably work on that.

In other news, I finally have a “real” home office! So excited to work from home without the chorus of children playing interrupting my calls.

  
The next step is to make it pretty. But I’m good with functional for now.

I am on Day 15 of Whole30. Halfway there, woot! I’ve actually been cooking quite a bit and not trying to go the “can’t even” route as much as I want to. Except for that day when it was a bajillion degrees and we have no AC and I took the kids to the grocery store just to cool off. Then it’s prosciutto time.

  
But on regular days when I feel like just throwing some chicken apple sausage on a salad, I question if that’s really all I can do, or can I roast up some veggies as well? Usually I’ll find the gumption to make some new food.

And if not, there’s always ceviche! The grocery store by my work just put in a ceviche and poke bar. I’ll be feasting on shrimp and tilapia if you need me.  

And this little gem just came in the mail for me today:

  
I just listened to the Calton’s interview on the Balanced Bites podcast the other day (I think it was episode 203? I’m a bit behind) and was really enjoying all of the geek-tasting info on different sources of vitamins and how they work (or don’t work) together. Plus if you order the book before August 31st you can get $200 in coupons to select whole food websites, so that alone caught my interest! If you go to the book’s website The Micronutrient Miracle there is more info there on the giveaway. Not an affiliate link, I just think it’s cool if you’re interested.

That’s all for today. Go make it a great day!

August Whole30: Day 10, and Non-Scale Victories So Far

Good morning, Blog World. I am up at the break of dawn Sunday morning purely on my own volition to talk about my second non-scale victory*. Here it goes:

I woke up before my kids.

Can you believe it? I cannot. I woke up naturally, no alarm, with the sun, refreshed, before the kids woke up. Normally I sleep in as long as I can until my son comes in and figuratively peels my eyelids back with some random request that requires my assistance. Usually, “I want milk” but it could also be “I want to watch Daniel Tiger” or simply, “Mommy, wake up. The sun is up now.”

So with this unaccustomed me-time I decided to make a cup of coffee, enjoy the hazy morning sun (yay, smoke!) for a few minutes on the porch, play with Olive for a bit, then get some blog work done. Hi, blog!

My other non-scale victory was brought to my attention yesterday. I was grabbing coffee with a friend who I’ve been talking with about my recent Whole30s, and she commented, “You know, you’re a different person when you’re doing this. Like, way happier and more approachable.” It’s weird, I feel  like a different person. I don’t get hung up on the little things that used to send me to my room with a fake headache, just not wanting to deal with it all anymore. Then Hulk also made the same observation that my mood is more stable when I’m eating Whole30. I am really interested to see through the reintroduction protocol which foods are affecting my mood and energy. I’m looking at you two, gluten and alcohol.

I am just squeeing with excitement. I did not expect to start feeling this good this soon. And with how good I feel, I don’t even want to fall off the wagon. So not an option. Sure, I get some sugar cravings, and if Hulk is cooking dinner I have to check in with what he’s making so I know I can eat it (and it’s a good thing I do – he picked up burger patties mixed with blue cheese yesterday for lunch), but it is so easy and feels so good to finally get my diet in a place where it’s healthy and I’m happy eating it.

Now Squish is up and reading this over my shoulder. He says to add, “I like coffee.”

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And now since they’re up, I am out of blogging time. But this was fun, huh?

Go make it a great day!

happy sun

Edit: I just noticed that my posts aren’t posting to my Facebook page! I think I’ve fixed the problem, so hopefully future posts will work as expected. Sorry if you’ve come to my site and are surprised to see content not found on Facebook, it wasn’t intentional. #hobbyblogproblems

*Non-scale victory definition for any non-Whole30 folks: a positive change indicating health improvement that doesn’t have anything to do with weight loss. Since the Whole30 program is not really a weight loss program (one of the rules is even “you may not weigh yourself” and they encourage you to throw out your scale for good!) it suggests that you observe positive changes such as pants fitting looser, losing that afternoon energy slump, etc.

August Whole30. Yup, Another One!

So, another Whole30? Yup. I find the best time for me to do one is to just wake up one morning and realize, “Yup, I can do this.” I just need about 24 hours to mull it over and decide that the motivation is for real, and I’m off to the real food races. I’m going to try and document this one a bit more than I normally do. I feel weird posting and social media-ing my Whole30s because it always feels a bit in-your-face to people that don’t care or really don’t approve of the program. That’s cool, we all have our own opinions and ways of doing things. I won’t mock your juice cleanse, I promise. Plus, if someone doesn’t like it there is always that cute little “unfollow” button, right?

Like the last two successful Whole30s I managed to complete, this one was a spark of realizing “You know what would make me sleep better and have more energy? A Whole30,” followed by some deep introspection to determine that I wanted to want the work, not just the results. That’s key in my book. Once I am convinced that I am for real on committing to a Whole30, I dig my feet in and fall into compliance easily and cheerfully. Well, except for National S’Mores Day. There is no way to replicate a Whole30 compliant s’mores without falling into major SWYPO (“Sex With Your Pants On” – a cute phrase describing the “paleo-fying” of junk food with technically compliant ingredients) territory. So I mourn my temporary s’mores loss and move on.

So what am I eating? I haven’t really tracked it, so here’s a sampling based on the last 5 days or so.

Breakfast: random veggie frittata, or last night’s leftovers, such as ground beef, random veggies, and pasta sauce over spaghetti squash from dinner two nights ago, plus an avocado.

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Lunch: kitchen sink salad of leftover rotisserie chicken, hardboiled eggs, beets, and sunflower seeds over baby spinach topped with evoo and balsamic vinegar

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Snack: mini-meal of a chicken apple sausage link, avocado, and a coconut water

Dinner: homemade roasted chicken, steamed broccoli with lime juice and evoo, leftover spaghetti squash

I am on Day 5 today and am happy to report that I started feeling my “tiger blood” back by Day 3! So stoked that I didn’t have to trudge through two weeks of waiting for my body to stabilize to its new fuel sources to feel the fantastic power that this eating brings to my health. I’m already sleeping better, feeling properly tired in the evening, waking up (somewhat) refreshed in the morning (*ahem* small children), and haven’t noticed the 3:00 afternoon slump as much. Quality sleep was the #1 reason I wanted to do another Whole30, I just wasn’t sleeping as well as I knew I could and I was feeling it.

Also, while last time I focused on making it as easy as possible to throw meals together, this time I’m working on trying to find that balance between efficiency in meal prepping and keeping things interesting and delicious. I cannot weekly meal prep. I just can’t. I’ve tried, I’ve done it, and I hate it. I prep food I end up not wanting to eat, make way too much and it all goes to waste, feel like I spent forever getting food together that only lasts like two meals, or my husband eats it all before I even get a chance to taste my hard work. So I try to (mentally) plan one or two days out, maybe make a trip to the grocery store on my way home from work, and try to cook for two meals when I do cook so I have enough for tomorrow’s lunch or breakfast or whatever. It’s working out pretty well.

How do you get motivated for a big change? Do you have to wait until inspiration strikes, or can you get yourself committed and just get it done when you want to start?

Make it a great day!

An Olive Update

Happy Friday, y’all!

It’s been one of those weeks. Hulk and I took a mini-trip this weekend to celebrate our anniversary, and I think we both came back with acute heat exhaustion because we were both pummeled by fevers Tuesday night. That’s what happens when you say, “you know what would be fun? A 2-hour hike in 95 degree weather followed by napping in said 96-degree weather by a pool!” So our household has somewhat resembled the imaginary sequel “Lord of the Flies: Baby Strikes Back.” I’m still feeling like my immune system is playing catch up just in time to get on a plane to visit family this weekend. Stock in Airborne has been acquired and I’m popping it like candy at this point.

Time for an Olive update!

  
We adopted Olive from the shelter shortly before our move, so that added to the typical moving craziness. So much that I keep forgetting to mention her! To maintain our sanity, Olive has been mostly an outside dog since we moved to the house. 

  
This arrangement has worked nicely for everyone, as she is allowed to destroy the backyard as much as her little puppy heart wants (no one was really using all of that installed irrigation piping, anyway) and we keep our new rugs relatively dog mess-free. She sleeps inside in her kennel at night, and is just starting to figure out when I say “kennel!” and show her a treat that I want her to go in her kennel and lay down. Hulk and I trade off taking her for short walks around the block, and we are making slow progress. She is either overly exuberant in her false sense of freedom and wants to bolt, or inexplicably terrified of the big, scary world and won’t leave the driveway. It’s a process. But the best part by far is how Olive and Squish interact. Squish absolutely loves our “cute, black, fluffy dog” and Olive thinks Squish is another puppy. They’ll alternate between chasing each other around to rolling on the floor together.  Ohh, all the feels. 

In hindsight, it may have been a little overly optimistic of us to think we can handle a puppy and a baby and a preschooler (duh). We could probably be doing a better job training and socializing her, but so far I think she’s doing fine. Apart from the normal puppy stuff, she is a super sweet and gentle dog.

We also have had a couple puppy play dates with my brother’s dog. Pretty sure anyone could hear Squish’s little brain explode with TWO dogs to play with and boss around!

 (Olive’s fur-cousin)
We’re going to wait until she’s a bit older and then take her to obedience classes. We found a fantastic dog trainer for our old dog, so I’m hoping they’re still taking new dogs!

But I am really enjoying getting puppy kisses and someone to eat dropped food on the floors again.

  
Have a great weekend!

On the Brain Lately #2

Hello, and happy Friday! I have a whole smoosh of randomness to share today.

First, I posted a rant yesterday about weight loss that I’m half proud of, and half feeling a major vulnerability hangover about. If you’re curious, take a gander.

Meanwhile on the home front, Squish just started kung fu lessons. It is all kinds of adorable, I can’t even.

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It’s inspiring me to dust off the old black belt and find some martial arts classes of my own.

Buttercup continues to be a bit of a fashionista. She’s outgrown most of her clothes so I had to go and load up on 12-Month sizes at Carter’s the other day. Little girls are sooooo much more fun to dress up than little boys. It’s just fact.

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Stop growing up.

Does anyone still use watches for running? I found my old Garmin 405 and charged it up, but since I’ve been using mostly phone apps for my couch-to-5k, I’m not sure if it’s worth the bother. But then how else do I take those classy Garmin selfless post-run to prove it happened?

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We scored an entire tray of leftover fresh veggies from a friend that worked a charity event this week. There goes my “darn, no veggies to eat” excuses. I have made it a personal goal to make sure they all get eaten and don’t go bad just sitting in the fridge. Wish me luck.

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What have you got on the brain lately?

Go make it a great (Fri)day!

Other “On the Brain Lately” Posts:

On the Brain Lately #1

New Pants: a Rant

Last weekend I had to go out and buy new clothes. I had finally thrown in the towel on wearing my pre-baby size 8 slacks and had come to terms with the possibility that I am perhaps no longer a size 8. This is bringing up a myriad of thoughts and feelings for me. The obvious one is maybe I should eat a little less and exercise more. 

But for some reason, that thought makes me angry. Unexpectedly angry. I don’t want to change. I like eating what I eat and moving the amount that I move. I could do better, but I’m so happy with where I’m at right now. And the reason why I would want to disrupt my happy routine and introduce the bitch slap of negative images that diet and exercise bring me is so I don’t have to buy bigger pants, and maybe people won’t make fun of me after they exclaim, “SHE writes a healthy lifestyle blog?!?”

Okay, so I put my little inner rebellion aside. I consider making all of those “small lifestyle changes” the weight loss gurus encourage all of us fat slobs to adopt so we won’t wake up on the couch covered in cheese curl dust with Mountain Dew aftertaste in our mouths as often. I could park further away and take the stairs more. I could prepare more meals at home and go out to eat less. I could replace soda with water. I could eat more veggies and less sugary junk food. But I already park in the farthest row of parking stalls at work and take the stairs every other trip. I eat most of my meals from home already. I don’t drink much if any soda, and I could ALWAYS eat more veggies, but the few treats I have in the afternoons make me happy and less likely to stab people. Basically, there is not much I really want to change to my lifestyle that doesn’t mean cutting out something that already makes me feel happy and balanced.

The part of it that gets me the most is who I am doing this for. I look in the mirror, and I’m happy. Sure, I’m bigger than I was. But I’ve done a lot of incredible things that have had nothing to do with how I look and what size I am. Its not a priority for me right now. But I feel shamed by the media, “fitspo”, and other blogs out there that this is something I SHOULD want and SHOULD do. And that is what makes me feel stabby. I’m not feeling the pressure to change because of me, but to do it for other anonymous people who lets face it, are not really directly involved in my life.

There are different kinds of healthy. Like my tag line says, “be your own healthy.” Right now I’m choosing health of the mind and soul over body, and it feels great. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like healthy living blogs can be more than kale salads and race recaps. We can be about whole health, inside and out. And just because I’m not a size 4 (or size 8 for that matter) doesn’t mean I can’t have a voice in the community. I have tried tons of diets, lifestyles, and exercise programs. You want to know the one that works? The one you’re on right now, especially if you can honestly say you’re happy.

Trust yourself. You don’t have to follow a model or fit into a mold to be happy. Just do you, because that is what is going to change the world.

As always, make it a great day!

Hiking and Food and Stuff

So, not that I’ve been sleeping hard lately or anything, but apparently I slept right through a pretty decent sized earthquake last night. There was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake along the Hayward fault that’s a few miles from our house. My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to do my “panicky mom” sprint down to the kids’ room to find that they are still sleeping and blissfully unaware that anything happened.

But I sleep hard for good reasons. I got a lovely 5 or so mile hike in the other day.

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I’m also keeping up with my lunchtime walks around the office complex. It’s a great way to break up the day and get some sunshine in.

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Is it just me, or has the tide along the shore been unusually high lately? Maybe just me. But water shouldn’t be there, it’s weird.

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I’m so not “paleo” lately, and I don’t care. My brain needs a break from restriction. So I embrace my inner six year old.

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And all the food trucks. I have a soft spot for quality food trucks.

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That’s all for now, I have a pile of Korean garlic noodles to dive into.

Go make it a great day!

What I’m Reading Lately

Hello, blog world!

Today I thought I would start up my weekly book review series again. A while back I was in the habit of sharing a book I’m into lately. Then I stopped reading so it was kind of hard to keep posting reviews. But this year I decided to start reading consistently again. I make time to read every day, but a few times a week I manage to carve out a few minutes at bedtime to snuggle down with a good book. Usually “book” means my Kindle reader, but I’ve been trying to go back to the paper book thing lately. While I like the convenience and instant gratification of the Kindle, there’s something about a paper book that has that sort of tactile satisfaction to it, you know?

Anyway, here’s the latest from my library (note, links are non-affiliate Amazon links, just in case you were curious and wanted to check something out):

Self Improvement stuff:

Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin

better than before

My unauthoritative rating: 3.5 out of 5

In “Better than Before,” Rubin sets out to figure out how people make or break habits. Why is it so hard to start a habit you really want to do, or break one that is detrimental to you? Why is it sometimes so easy to wake up one day and say, “I’m going to do this now” and actually DO it, whereas other habits take forever to take hold and eventually drop off? While this book was a good, fun read, it wasn’t one that I would call well-researched. The book was mostly Rubin’s self musings about how she sees the world based on her “research,” which from what I could tell, was mostly gathered from talking to friends and crowdsourcing from her blog. It’s interesting, but not really scientific. However I did get a lot from it by reflecting on my own tendencies and habits, which was helpful. I would recommend it if you’re curious about how others think and take to habits, but if you are more of the “show me the data” science-y type you might want to pass.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

tidying up

My unauthoritative rating: 3.5 out of 5

This book is exactly what you think it is. And then again it’s not. I mean, it’s definitely a book about how to clean and organize your home. But in a distinct Japanese style and form, Kondo goes beyond “here is how you should organize your sock drawer” to encouraging you to treat your possessions with respect, almost in an anthropomorphized way. While I sort of have a difficult time saying to my purse “thank you for working hard and serving me today” when I put it away in the closet, I do agree and adore the attitude that you honor your things by taking care of them, and that your things should bring you joy so you should not keep things that do not bring joy into your life. This book will help that spark of a cleaning revolution within and make you super motivated to have a clutter-free and peaceful home.

Health stuff:

Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose” by Drew Manning

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My unauthoritative rating: 4 out of 5

Drew Manning was sort of a big deal when this book came out a few years ago. He was the super fit personal trainer that wanted to take an honest look at what his overweight clients go through via a drastic method – to purposely gain a significant amount of weight then lose it all. This book was a bit more musings than storytelling in my opinion, but I loved Manning’s vulnerability and honest observations in his journey. If you’re a sucker for a good “transformation” story, this one is great since it goes through not only the physical transformation of Manning getting his body “back,” but the emotional transformation of viewing life from the other side and never being able to think the same way again. Plus, he just seems like a likable guy. I follow him on Instagram, too. His handle is @fit2fat2fit, and he posts some pretty inspiring/introspective stuff.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom” by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig

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My unauthoritative rating: 5 out of 5

So, you guys probably know by now that I’ve totally drank the Whole30 (real-food, no added sugars) kool-aid and have an unrequited girl crush on Melissa Hartwig. So it’s a no brainer that I’m all about this book. However, in the interest of at least attempting to appear slightly unbiased, I’ll pretend that I just picked this book up and am totally not sold on the Whole30 thing. Which is impossible so why don’t I just talk about what I like about it.

Having done a couple Whole30s, this book is a great resource even if you’ve done it before. It goes through the program rules, timeline of what you can expect, lots and lots of Q and A, and even suggestions for common pitfalls and special circumstances (how to navigate a party or social event, doing a Whole30 vegetarian-style, etc.). My absolute favorite part is the kitchen basics section. Most intro level cookbooks feature a “here’s what you need for a decent kitchen” section, but they go beyond what brand of cutting board to use in how to make simple, basic food. Like fried eggs. And grilled chicken. And homemade mayo. Okay, except for the mayo I thought I knew how to do all this. But do you? DO you? All I have to say is my confidence in the kitchen (when I choose to be in the kitchen) has totally improved since I brushed up on these basic cooking skills and I thought I was a pretty good cook before. Oh, and there are also recipes and suggested meal plans. Tons of them. Even though I don’t always eat Whole30 (hey, it’s not a Whole365), I am a superfan and totally would push this harder on people if it wasn’t so annoying to have someone push unwelcome diet recommendations.

Indulgent Young Adult Fiction stuff, sorely needed before my brain exploded with all of that other “serious” stuff:

Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

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My unauthoritative rating: 3 out of 5

I stumbled across this book in a search for another dystopian young romance novel that is the hallmark of Young Adult fiction these days. In this story, a girl lives in a world where humans are separated into classes based on their blood: “red” bloods are normal humans, and “silver” bloods have magical powers. And their blood is actually silver-colored. I think like liquid mercury. Anyway, the protagonist red-blooded Mare is forced into the elite Silver society through an unfortunate chain of events and must play the part of a lost Silver princess. Rebellion, espionage, battles, romance, and political power plays all in one story. While I found the dialogue to be rather dry and unimaginative, the story itself is quite gripping. I am eager for the sequel to come out next year (darn it! Such a long time …).

The Selection” by Kiera Cass

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My unauthoritative rating (so far): 4 out of 5

I just started this one, and I’m already hooked. If “The Hunger Games” took place on the set of “The Bachelor”, then this story would probably happen. I’ll probably plow through this book next weekend.

That’s what’s been in my library for the past few months. Maybe you’ll be inspired for your next good book!

Go make it a great day (of reading)!