{Kind of a Book Review} And just like that, Breathe, Annie, Breathe has made me want to run again

IMG_20140709_091510Since I’ve had my first child, I’ve been a little lax in the exercise department. For the first 8 weeks or so, exercise just hurt (the joys of having a c-section), and since then I’ve had bursts of motivation, but for the most part I’m just lazy.

Thank the heavens for Miranda Kenneally.

I’m not a football player, nor do I enjoy softball. I’m not really religious, and while I love horses, I don’t really like riding them for long periods. However, with this fifth book in the Hundred Oaks series, I found something I do love.

Running.

If you saw me running now, it would be a sad, sad sight. I have little to no endurance, very little speed, and I just, well … I just suck at it. About six years ago, though, I didn’t suck at it. I was actually training to run in the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas and made it up to about 13 kilometers before I stopped. I don’t know why I stopped. Running is probably one of the easier — and cheaper — forms of exercise there is. And I was actually getting pretty good at it. It helped me keep my weight in check and was actually kind of fun.

These days, I wish I still could run at least 5 kilometers without getting winded and feeling like I was ready to die. While reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I longed for Annie’s endurance. That girl had strength! I remember the shakiness after a long run and that feeling like I was going to vomit. I remember my biggest worry about the Vegas half being the location of the bathrooms. Annie is everything that I long to be. I want to be able to run without feeling embarassed about it (everyone starts somewhere, right?) and just push, push, push to get where I want to be. There will be setbacks, but Annie showed me that that’s okay.

And Jeremiah. Oh, of all the book boyfriends I equally loved and hated! I was never a daredevil, so I could never, ever see myself with a guy like Jere — and I would have the same fears that Annie had, of him hurting himself. I did love the realization she had partway through the book that you could hurt yourself doing the simplest of things — it’s not just reserved for things like bungee jumping or skydiving!

I also have to say that it wasn’t just Annie who inspired me in this book, but Miranda herself. In the Acknowledgements she shared her story of running and training for a marathon. I felt myself reminiscing back to the days when I had that determination and told myself that it’s still there — I just have to coax it out.

I know most of this has been about my story when it comes to running, but it just had to be. This book inspired me to lace up my shoes and do my Couch to 10K program. I considered the 5K but just decided to go for the big one. After the husband left for work and the baby ate, I plopped the baby in his exersaucer next to the treadmill and off I went! It felt great and I have more energy now than I have in the past few weeks. Yeah, I walked the majority of this training session, only running for 3.5 minutes, and only logged in 3.4 kilometers in the end, but I’ll get there.

All thanks to Miranda Kenneally.

I can’t say that I won’t have any setbacks on this 13 week journey to getting my endurance up to running 10 kilometers, but maybe I’ll just keep this book by my bedside as a constant reminder that anything is possible. And heck, maybe one day I’ll have to determination to build up to a half marathon again.

Anything can happen.

Are you a runner? Have you ever read something that inspired you to get moving? 

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BOOK REVIEW: The Humming Room, by Ellen Potter

Date(s) read: October 8, 2012
Genre: MG Fantasy

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SYNOPSIS
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw’s special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment’s notice. When her parents are murdered, it’s her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. 

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle’s assistants, Roo discovers the house’s hidden room–a garden with a tragic secret. 

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me a copy of this book for review!

This was such a sweet book! Before I read it, I wondered if I would feel lost having not read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden beforehand, but this story definitely stood on its own. I only wish it had been longer! At only 182 pages, this story provides the story of Roo, an orphan who goes to live with her uncle on an island where she encounters secret doors, a mysterious garden, and many other things!

From the first pages, I knew this was a book I would enjoy. I don’t read a lot of Middle Grade books, but when I find one that looks spectacular, I try to get my hands on it. I would say this one is similar to Lauren Oliver’s Liesl & Po because it contains ghosts and is told in a fairytale kind of way, but there were so many other things going on. Most of all, I think my favourite part of the story was Roo. Her determination to be herself was amazing, even if that meant she’d get on other peoples’ bad side. BUT, throughout the story we see a remarkable change in her character that brought a smile to my face. At just 12 years old, she shows so much growth in character that it’s hard to remember that she was only 12 years old.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2012
AUTHOR LINKS: WEB / TWITTER / GOODREADS
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGE COUNT: 468 pages
SOURCE: Library
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From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak. 

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

MY REVIEW

I had been hearing so many amazing things about Morgan Matson’s novel, Second Chance Summer — the follow up to her amazing novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour — that I immediately put myself on the hold list when I saw my local library was getting it. Admittedly, I wasn’t going to read this one immediately because the hardback was such a beautiful book that I wanted a copy of it for my shelf, but I needed something that was really going to keep my interest so I dove in.  Continue reading