Monthly Archives: March 2015

Review – At the Water’s Edge

At the Water's Edge

 Title: At the Water’s Edge

 Author: Sara Gruen

 2015 – Fiction – Historical Fiction

 Rating: 4.5/5

The Story: Maddie’s life is a blur of parties, alcohol, and luxury. But after war comes and her husband and best friend are both declared unfit for military service, they decide to take off for Scotland in order to search for the legendary monster of Loch Ness. During their stay, Maddie befriends the village locals, her husband grows more maniacal, and their marriage slowly begins to deteriorate.

The Opening Line: The headstone was modest and hewn of black granite, granite being one of the few things never in short supply in Glenurquhart, even during the present difficulty.

What I Loved: Gruen really knows how to set the historical scene, and that was really the star of the book. Maddie found herself in the middle of a battle at sea, encountered firsthand the wounded, learned to carry her gas mask everywhere she went, and survived several raids by hunkering down in a bunker. But even in the midst of war, Gruen placed a priority on adventure, friendships, and romance. Maddie’s growth as a character really just made me adore her. She went from being somewhat of a spoiled brat to a mature young lady with a better sense of perspective.

What I Didn’t Love: I would have loved to known more of Hank’s story. As Ellis and Maddie’s best friend, Hank financed their journey to Scotland and helped keep Ellis in check. And he seems like a decent guy, more or less, if a bit lazy and unmotivated. I also would have loved to see the romance blossom a bit more, as opposed to seeming like it was suddenly there without too much development.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed Water for Elephants, and my love for historical fiction is growing, so I was pretty certain that I would enjoy this title. And I did. I’ve heard a couple of dissenting voices, but overall, the reaction to this book has been really positive, and I’m happy to add to that. It was a fun read, while discussing some serious topics, and that really worked here. I think Gruen has a hit, and I can’t wait for you all to read it and let me know what you think!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week: I thought spring was finally here for good, but last week it got pretty cool again. So most of my week was spent working and then just chilling on the couch with a book or watching Netflix. On Saturday, the roomies and I went to my coworker’s house for dinner, billiards, and board games, which was a ton of fun. And yesterday I got to enjoy a nap before going with my life group to help pack up the kitchen of a family who’s moving to Arizona. So all in all, last week was pretty good.

We’re still working on our Middlesex challenge, so my time and attention last week was divided between that and whatever other book I was reading. I’m almost finished with Middlesex, but doing a reading challenge always means that my other reading for the week always kind of suffers. Still, I got through a couple things.

Posts – The Carnival at Bray review, Sunday Sagacity – Finding a Rhythm

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley Dead Money Run by J. Frank James All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Currently Reading: Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides; I Remember Beirut – Zeina Abirached

Middlesex I Remember Beirut

Looking Ahead: I’m really excited about having the opportunity to read Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything. A few years ago, during my college days, I went on a Dessen binge and just read everything by her. So I’m really hoping this will be just as good as I remember her being.

Saint Anything The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2) All the Light We Cannot See

Some great books coming up, which I’m really excited for!!! I foresee this being a great week, friends! I hope it’s the same for you!

 

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Sunday Sagacity – Finding a Rhythm

SUNDAY

Welcome to Sunday Sagacity, my twice-monthly reflection series that I created to chronicle my year-long goal to instill discipline in my life in some key areas. Each week, I’ll very briefly touch on each of those areas. I’ll talk about my victories and my failures, and hopefully gain the motivation and accountability I need to carry out my goals.

Spring is finally here, days are longer, and I’m slowly getting used to a new schedule and more free time in the evenings. Overall, the past couple weeks have been fantastic. We’ve tried out new recipes, had dinner with a friend, spent time outdoors. I’m a little tired today, and I’m dealing with some allergies, but hopefully that’s nothing a nap won’t fix.

On to the updates!

Money – I’m really finding a rhythm in putting money in my savings account before I do anything else. I’m growing my savings steadily, which in turn is increasing my confidence and feeling of security. My goal is to build up about 3 months (and eventually beyond) worth of living expenses, so I’ll have something to fall back on should I need it. I’ve also decreased spending on things like fast food, vending machines, and other little things that I don’t really need.

Quiet Time – A couple weeks ago, my life group watched a video by Pastor Bill Hybels about the importance of prioritizing time with Jesus. That coincided with a spurt of warmer weather, so I started having quiet time out on the balcony of my apartment with my Bible and journal. I’ve found that a really great thing to end my journal entries is to record 5 things I’m grateful for each day, which really helps me identify unique, great things about the day. Now that it’s cold again, I’ve slacked off here, but I want to make this a habit.

Physical Health – To me, warm weather means basketball! As soon as the days get longer and the temperatures rise, my roommates and I start making plans to spend our free time in the park. We live right next door to a great park with a walking track, basketball hoops, tennis and volleyball courts, playgrounds, baseball fields, and more. So it’s easy to go spend 30 minutes or an hour shooting hoops or taking a walk. This is one of my favorite things to do in the world, and I’m glad it’s that time of year!

Healthy Eating – We’re eating out less, cooking more, and experimenting with new recipes. We eat out about once a week, unless we ruin a dinner or something, but that’s way less than we used to. Also, I’ve gotten way better about planning out lunches for work, so I don’t find myself eating out regularly there either. I’m trying to drink less soda as well. This will continue to be a work in progress.

Intentional Living – The roommates and I were invited to my coworker’s house yesterday for dinner, billiards, and board games. It was a super fun and relaxing evening, and I’m looking forward to more of these evenings in the future. On Monday, I went out for lunch with a new coworker this week to a local eatery that’s been around more or less since the 50s. I’ve also been making myself go to life group regularly. I’m learning that community and relationships are really important, so I’ve been making an effort to grow in this area. I still hate being in larger groups, but I love 1-on-1 friendships and small groups.

Anyway, I’m pretty exhausted, so I’m thinking a nap looks pretty right about now. Here’s to the next 2 weeks of progress!

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