Sunday, April 12, 2015

BookFit

I am in the process of training for hiking portions the Appalachian Trail. I know what you are thinking, here is another woman who runs to the woods with a monster pack in hopes of leaving her emotional baggage under a rock for some other poor soul to find. No, this is not an East Coast reenactment of Wild. I really just enjoy hiking and am in love with birds. Also I have a normal size pack, not a gigantic monster bigger than myself. Not to mention I am not a novice, just out of practice.

My idea is to go into the woods and come out with a larger life list of birds seen. Spending a week in the woods (about the time limit I have for irregular showering and outdoor toilets) means having to carry enough stuff to live that long. So my biggest concern and what I have been training for is carrying my pack. In case you are not aware water is freaking heavy and to live a week in the woods you need a lot more than one little water jug. So I filled all my water jugs with water and placed them in my pack and walked as many times as I can around the neighborhood with the extra weight. Thinking I was awesome I told others of my training and they laughed and stated, “That pack probably only weighs 12 pounds you should make it heavier.” Okay I thought, even though you are a bit of a jerk bursting my bubble of awesomeness your point is somewhat valid. Instead of finding things to put more water in I turned to something I have a lot of and can in fact be pretty darn heavy… books! I added some Proust, Game of Thrones (entire series), The Lord of the Rings (entire series) and a few well-chosen hardback mystery favorites. Now I am not only lugging around an extremely heavy pack but when I need a break I always have something good to read. All this training got me thinking what are the best books to use for strength training and have I possibly invented a new system better than CrossFit, shall we call it BookFit?

Obviously, hardbacks are the way to go if you want some weight. And you cannot go wrong with large series such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings (I swear I do read more than fantasy, I really do). But there are also one book classics that can do the trick as well. Anna Karenina is heavy in so many ways. Cannot go wrong with War and Peace and let us not forget Ulysses. I could go on and on about large books that will beef you up but I think you get the idea.

So who is with me? BookFitters unite!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Letter to the Non-Reader

Dear Non-Reader,

While I am sure you have good intentions when picking your entertainment outlets I have to question your sanity. You seem to rely heavily on electronics. Do not misunderstand me, electronics are great for warming the kettle or producing light to read by when daylight disappears. However, I find your preoccupation with pluggable items and flashing screens an oddity. I know what you are thinking… you are in front of screen right now writing this letter! Ah, you are slightly mistaken. I write this letter to you on magic paper that is transmitting to a place where you will most likely be able to find and read this letter. Or perhaps I am sending this message to you with just my mind and you in your fascination with screens you simply imagine that it is on a blog. Oh okay, not REALLY… but I have to say if you were a reader you would have had a better retort than… REALLY?

Since you have not yet discovered the pleasures of reading ( I know so because as you read this you have three other windows open and you are flipping between this and playful puppy videos on YouTube) I thought I would write to you and detail them for you (worry not, it will be a short letter, a note really not a novel). So here is a small list of the benefits of reading:

  1. You can do it anywhere without worrying about recharging or signal
  2. You can practice your “in your head voices” assigning each character a different accent and inflection (this is highly useful when you find yourself telling thrilling tales to friends)
  3. You will have thrilling tales to tell your friends even if you did nothing all but read all day.
  4. You will be able to perfect sarcasm and write annoying letters to people who will more than likely never write you back by reading novels with particularly snarky characters.
  5. You will know the plot to all the great movies that recently hit the theatres long before the non-reader.


See just a handful of things and really if you made it this far in the letter you are almost a reader so why not turn off the television and open that dusty volume on your bookshelf. If it is a good read let me know because I am looking for something new to read.

Sincerely Yours-
Amanda

Friday, April 03, 2015

Sandhill Crane Juvenile

Sandhill Crane Juvenile
Central FL
April 2015

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes
Central FL
April 2015

Murder on the Champ De Mars by Cara Black

Murder on the Champ de MarsMurder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Aimee Leduc's life is a fast paced mystery at every turn. From her love life to her detective agency there is no time for sleep when a stranger appears at her door and tells her she must follow him to find out a secret regarding her father's murder.

Without giving to much away let me state that this book is a whirlwind read. There are ups and down and surprises around each corner. I was not familiar with Cara Black's work until I was given this book to read from Soho Crime. The book jacket description made me agree to read the book but it was the first scene that kept me glued to the book reading late into the night.

Black's characters are believable and well crafted. Her scene setting is superb. The plot moves quickly and subtle hints and clues are left like baguette crumbs throughout.

My only compliant is that there is a bit of a stall, in an otherwise thrilling book, towards the end (about the last 60 pages). With her daughter just threatened Aimee takes her to a safe house then heads to a friend's and we sit for too long considering the big reveal is just moments away. The brief pause is not enough to effect my overall enjoyment of the book. I will be locating the earlier books in the series and eagerly awaiting new additions to what I can only imagine is a fantastic series based on the latest offering from the Aimee Leduc Investigation series.

Readers looking for a good crime novel, mystery or a Parisian novel should read this book.

Note: I was given this book by the publisher to read and review. In no way did that effect the opinions listed here.




View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Letter to Rene Friant from Murder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black

April 1, 2015

Dearest Rene-

Poor mon petit! I know the gypsies call you this, perhaps in a derogatory manner, but know when I refer to you this way I say it with only the deepest affection. I feel for you and not because of your height or your health but because of your unrequited love. I put in a good word for you but honestly I do not believe Aimee the type to settle down with anyone so it might be best to give up on that idea. I know you will not give up on her and who knows I may be wrong... I have been wrong in the past. I like you mon petit. You are clever and caring and when I felt a tad bored with Aimee you were there to keep me the story.

Till We Meet Again-
Amanda

Letter to Aimee Leduc from Murder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black

April 1, 2015

Dear Ms. Leduc-
I am happy to make your acquaintance. From my little research of you it appears that you have been busy. First I have to say that even though you and Melac appear to have reached an agreement as it goes with Chloe... let him go! The idea of him, the hurt that you clearly still feel from his rejection of you... let it all go. You have so much going on in your life that I cannot see why you still let him upset you. I know he is the father of your baby, but really he is quite the jerk. You know if you really feel the need to have a man in your life there is one who is already closer to you than you think. All I am saying is that you really do not need to look that far. He already cares for Chloe and will follow you into any outrageous, dangerous situation you choose to pursue. I think you know who I am talking about and if not, wake up Aimee!

Alright enough love life advice, it sounds like you get much of it from many of your friends. Let us now talk of Paris. My first visit was with you. Others in the past have tried to bring me along but honestly I did not pay much attention, they were poor tour guides. Flying through the streets with you in pursuit of Nicu and Drina's killers was thrilling. I learned so much about your culture and your city. Not to mention that all you need for a good disguise is a quick change of handbag. I have to ask one thing of you for our next adventure, can we visit more cafes? I cannot get enough espresso and the smell of fresh baked baguettes.

Till We Meet Again-
Amanda

P.S. I think I might know what your favorite word is... you say it quite often and it makes me giggle when I think of it in print. I fear that I will never tire of curse words, especially when they are in French.