Top Ten Tuesday: Topics that Make Me Want to Read

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish

Each week they will post a new top ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a great way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Words/Topics that Instantly Make Me Read (or Buy) a Book:

1. Dystopian - I think there must be something wrong with me because if a book is labeled as a dystopian novel, and there's something broken about a world within the pages, I simply MUST read it. Like, yesterday. 

2. Science Fiction - Hah. While much of the young adult genre was swept up in the notion of paranormal romance, the ideas of cyborgs and technology-advanced societies have been running rampant through my brain. I think I'm destined to write a sci-fi novel someday.

3. Realistic - This is a huge bone of contention with me because, while I've found a soft spot for contemporary fiction these days, I feel like it often deviates too far from reality. Tell me it's actually realistic, and you've got me, hook, line and sinker. (Just don't let me down.)

4. Michelle Hodkin - I'm a fangirl. Sue me. Add her name to a cover, or mention her in a tweet, and I'm there. Colour me nuts.

5. Animals - Seriously, animals and the environment are some of my biggest passions in the world. I love the idea of making a difference on a small or minute level, but that it can carry over into something bigger. Give me a book with an animal best friend, or a journey to save the animal or environment, and it's solid gold.

6. Harry Potter - Let's be honest. Do I really have to explain this one? I think not. You're welcome. 

7. Humour - I like sass. And snark. I like sassy snark...and I really like characters with an attitude. Give me a character that breaks the norm and defies the odds while maintaining a high level of these traits, and I'll likely want to be their best friend. Forever.
8. Time Travel - I think this one has to do with my penchant for one of my all-time favourite books, Time Windows. There's something so innately cool about the idea of traveling to long lost worlds or those that have yet to come to pass.

9. Horror - Like I said before. There's something wrong with me. I'm ok with it.

10. Overseas - I don't think I've read enough books set overseas. This is a big one for me lately. I really want new and exciting destinations within the pages of my books.

Arclight by Josin L. McQuein Review

Monday, April 29, 2013

Title: Arclight
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publish Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
No one crosses the wall of light...except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?
Marina doesn't remember life before the Arclight. She doesn't remember anything, actually. All she knows is that she is certain to be more important - and more powerful - than she could have ever imagined. The Fade wants her back, and humanity seems to want to rescue her from sort of imminent destruction, but Marina just wants to find a semblance of normalcy and peace in the midst of all this turmoil that surrounds her everyday life. But can she find her place in time, or will she become the ultimate weapon against the remains of humanity after all?

First of all, I'm thrilled that this is the first book I'm reviewing upon my return to the book blogosphere because, and let's just be honest here, it was such a high-concept, totally unnerving (in a good way) and thrill-seeking take on the young adult and science fiction genre. Too often, I find that the genre is tired and cold, but Josin McQuein skillfully detailed and adventure that's eerie, unsettling and altogether thrilling take on a whole new realm of sci-fi. With stark contrasts of light and dark, powerful characters in which to invest yourself and a plot that's sure to keep you reading past your bedtime, Arclight is one heck of a slam-dunk debut.

Let's start with the absolute brilliance surrounding the plot of Arclight, shall we? There is an underbelly of fear and paranoia that lurks beneath the story, giving each turn of events a creepy and slightly off-kilter vibe. We watch as the plot slowly unravels, feeding us a bit of backstory at a time - rather than inundating us with information that would throw off the pacing - and we're invited into a closed, but very tangible world. Marina, though slightly difficult to get to know, was a complex and emotional character. I say she was difficult to get to know simply because her lack of memory leads us to have little or no innermost thoughts. Instead, we are left to explore her developing character through her actions and dynamic with the other characters, which is an interesting and refreshing challenge. The searing tension soars throughout the story, so every page is littered with questions and fear, giving way to a fulfilling and definitive climax. I will say, however, that I was a bit disappointed with the "love story" angle of the novel, simply because I felt as though it was a sort of afterthought, rather than an actual part of the story.

Overall, however, Arclight was a wonderfully refreshing story that was chock-full of new ideas, powerful emotions and a rich and vivid storyline. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those why enjoy science fiction and dystopian stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Snapshots of Arizona

Friday, April 26, 2013

I took the red-eye back from Phoenix to Boston on Monday night into Tuesday, and I've spent the rest of my week working (or attempting to do so), catch up on sleep because my body is in seven million time zones and trying to get enough crossfit workouts in. So, finally this evening, I've had some time to reflect on my trip to see my sweet, and I have to say it was one of the best times together yet. I miss him when we're apart, and he's stationed too far away, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Plus, every little trip is made better by the fact that it's a perfect holiday with him. Some tidbits of my trip...

Sweet Boston

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon, and say "oh, I was here when it happened," or "I know so-and-so who was hurt." 

I will say this, I am thankful. I work just outside the city, and I was pissed all yesterday because on a Massachusetts holiday, Patriot's Day, my office was open, and I had to work. 

I thought about calling in sick. I wanted to go to the marathon with my friends. I didn't. I stayed at work, and I remained safe. 

Today, I can only be grateful and thankful and simply ask that people just continue to pray for the people and city of Boston.

My Weekend According to Instagram

Monday, April 15, 2013

From the top: (Find me on insatagram @iswimforoceans)
Stella // CrossFit Competition
Sisters // Spring & New Flats
Dinner in the City // Jasper

A Bloggin' Coffee Date

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guys, I'm trying something new...mostly because I'm just barely back into blogging. Say that five times fast. Just because. The point is, I'm liking this bad boy up over at Rags to Stitches. Why not? Sue me.

This week has been an interesting one, to say the least. We (my roommates, Patrice & Danielle) saw an apartment we loved last weekend in the town we're hoping to relocate, and we put in our applications. Unfortunately, apparently everybody had the same idea as us. And, let's get real, the owners picked the older couple that applied right before us because they're a lot less of a risk than three young professionals who could up and get married/leave at any time. Regardless, we took the loss in stride and put in our applications for another place today. We're really, really hoping this is it. We're tired of searching. It hurts my brain.

Now, I'm buckling down for a weekend of CrossFit. We have our Spring Kick-Off Competition at CrossFit Free tomorrow, and I'm doing it Rx. For those of you who haven't sipped the kool-aid yet, that basically means that I have to the workouts exactly as written - no scaling the weights. There are three workouts of death pain, and then the top competitors will advance to the fourth. I won't be in the top. I'm just not that good yet. Hallelujah.

And, finally, in a grand total of 7 days (+ 12 or so hours), I get to see my handsome soldier where he's stationed in Arizona. This whole long-distance shebang is less than appealing BUT it's not forever. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

For any of you out there that know me; I'm a worrier. I always have been, and I always will be. However, as of late, I've been making a conscious effort to worry less about the future (because, let's be honest, it plagues me) and simply enjoy the present. I'm only promised today, so why not enjoy what time I do have, right? It's so much easier said than done.

Friends, what do you do to worry/stress less? If anything, that is...

Ten Things on a Tuesday

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for summer, and this so-called spring in New England is toying with my psyche. And emotions. And soul. Pardon my excessive drama, but anybody else ready for this endless winter to be over? I loved the snow. In fact, I enjoyed the first 10+ snowfalls. Now it's April. Springtime. Flowers. Let's make this happen, Mother Nature! Despite my endless annoyance with the weather, I made a list of ten things making me happy (despite this fickle spring) on an early Tuesday morning.

1. Messages from General Conference playing over and over in my head. So uplifting, and so powerful.

2. Throwing my windows open last night and waking to the sound of lil' birdies chirping.

3. Counting the days till I get to see a certain handsome soldier out West again (11 days!)

4. Running outside at CrossFit, rather than just rowing. 

5. Yummy paleo dinners that last for 3 days, so I don't have to cook multiple times per week.

6. My sweet kitties, Stella and Jasper, who snuggle up to me when I'm feeling a lil' overwhelmed.

7. Thoughts of moving into a better, brighter, happier apartment very soon (fingers crossed).

8. This video. I had a "Kristen-Bell-with-the-sloth-esque" moment.

9. Shelves full of unread books - endless possibilities. What should I read next, friends?

10. Preparing for many days involving the following:

The Open Was Upon Us

Saturday, April 6, 2013

So, a brief five weeks ago, all those in the world of CrossFit were buzzing with excitement because (and I quote) "the open is upon us." Now, I can officially say that the Open was upon us, and we're officially done. Ok, well, I'm being a tiny bit hasty because I still have to do 13.5, aka the last workout, one more time tomorrow.

For those of you that don't know what the Open is (I don't blame you), it's a series of five insane workouts released by Dave Castro and CrossFit HQ that Crossfitters worldwide do in the hopes of scoring a chance to go Regionals. From Regionals, you can qualify for the Games. For the elite, this is it. For those more like me - attempting to make it through a single WOD without dying - this is to gauge your abilities and train for next year.

Last year, I was just a baby Crossfitter. I watched these crazy athletes doing insane workouts and though to myself, "self, they're insane." This year, however, I found myself just as excited as the rest of them, and even though I don't stand an ice cube's chance in hell of getting to the Games, or even Regionals, I'm so proud I did it.

There was a lot of this:

But, let's be honest. It was mostly this:

Help...I'm Alive

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oh. Hi there. Remember me? Don't worry - I don't blame you if you don't. Heck, I wouldn't remember me after a nearly year-long hiatus. However, I'm still alive. Another however for ya...I've found myself missing the old blogosphere as of late (craziness how you can miss an online community), and I've been pondering starting things up again.

This would, however, be in a different capacity. I may review a book here and there, but it won't be a book blog. I might divulge a few travels when I can spare the time (and much-needed cash), but it won't be a travel blog. I might cry about the insane WODs that I experience at CrossFit, but it's definitely not going to be a workout blog. So, what will it be, you ask? God only knows. Well, it'll probably be more along the lines of a personal blog - writing, reading, my innermost thoughts and desperate desires for a slice of cake at 3 AM.

So, if you DO still remember me and you DO still want to follow yours truly, I'd love you forever. Also, I'll send you the aforementioned cake. Well, probably not, but I'll leave some sugar/love on your blog, and that's almost as good. Right? Yet again, I digress.

The point is, I'm back. And different. And better? Perhaps. But I've missed all your sweet faces and awesome blogs. Love your guts. Look for changes happening in the coming days.

PS: No, the reviews are not going away. All will be archived in a tab.
PPS: I might not have made any sense with this post.
PPPS: Oops.


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