Book Review: Three-Point Shot by J.R. Nakken

Three-Point Shot by J.R. Nakken

A Middle Grade Sports/Coming of Age Novel published by 1st Book Library (3/23/04)

Summary:

Nathan Red Leggins worries that his background as an Assiniboine Indian will be the only thing kids at his new school know and care about. Nathan wants to fit in. He wants to play basketball even more.

Keywords:

Sports, Coming of Age, Classes, Basketball, Bullies, School, Family, Stepfather, Tryouts, Indian, Reservation, Sophomore, Suburbia, Spokane, Varsity, Point Guard, Three-Point Shots, Drama

My Review:

I don’t think teenagers are like this nowadays, but we wish they were. Red Leggins and his buddies and those who aren’t so nice to him are mild in comparison to what we’ve seen on the media in contemporary society, but I wish kids these days were logical and able to be nice and change their minds about others like in this book.

I wish more coming of age/middle grade books featured more female characters as their own persons. The only female characters in this book were the girl next door (next neighborhood over) that Nathan has a crush on and Nathan’s own mother. Most of the other characters were male.

This book shows a young boy learning how to interact with his peers and how to accept his new stepfather and his mother’s relationship with another man. Through this story, Nathan learns to be proud of his background and heritage while not letting it become his defining characteristic.

This novel was published by 1st Book Library on 3/23/04 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.5

Links for more information:

Goodreads

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Readerfest! Aftermath of my first Seattle event with FVP!

A different setup for a different event! I really liked our featured book area.

Tables and chairs (and tablecloths) were provided. The two food trucks, though they were only around until 3pm or so, were interesting and cool choices. Panels and music entertained people throughout the event. The collection of authors was diverse.

I debuted my semi-finished coloring book (just going to color in more of the cover) for the first time at an event. Sales were on the smaller side, but this first year of Readerfest was well-stocked with vendors and panels and looks to be bigger next year.

Thank goodness parking was a cinch and maps led us straight to the brig! They even had some wonderful helpers and gave us waters! Thanks, Readerfest and hope to see you all next year!

All About the Donuts: Local Donut Shop Review – Countryside Donut House – Bothell, WA

Countryside Donut House

Bothell, WA

10032 Main St, Bothell, WA 98011

(425) 485-4530

Review criteria:

Most popular donut at the shop: NA
Signature shop donut: NA
Most popular US donut: glazed
2nd most popular US donut: Boston crème
Donut Hole: not available

What I tried:

French Crueller (with white glaze), Old Fashioned, Plain Cake Donut, Maple Bar, Apple Fritter

$12 total for a dozen

 

What to expect:

I’m fairly certain they gave me some day old donuts with their regular donuts as some of the donuts were unusually stale for 1pm. The ones that weren’t unusually stale were oily, like the oil hadn’t been changed recently. I was very unimpressed with the quality of their donuts and I’m very disappointed in this local donut shop.

My favorite:

I’m not a fan of maple glazed, but that was the freshest donut in the box. I did not like any of the other stale donuts (of course) and will never be going back to this donut shop.

Book Review: The EvoAngel by Ellen King Rice

The EvoAngel by Ellen King Rice

A Mystery/Thriller Novel published by Undergrowth Publishing (02/16/16)

Summary:

Edna is known as the mushroom lady. She mostly keeps to herself, except when the community comes to her for help. That was years ago, but Edna is still affected by a ‘cure’ she used on local cows. Can mushrooms change your DNA? Edna’s feathers may be evidence, but her daughter and granddaughter are also special. It only takes one glance for an aggressive physician to want to investigate this phenomenon and she will stop at nothing to get her answers.

Keywords:

Mushrooms, Science, Biology, Genetics, Fungi, Thriller, Feathers, Clinic, Murder, Evolution, DNA, University, Field Trip, Ambition, Activation, Family History, Pacific Northwest

My Review:

I liked the POV’s chosen: Theodora, Grace, Edna, etc. I loved how the main story was interwoven throughout their individual stories and the paths they took intertwining with each other’s ambitions and desires. Dr. Band’s POV was especially intriguing as she’s unlike anyone you ever want to meet. I noticed a few chapters did not maintain POV consistency (head hopping), but this did not detract from my understanding of what was going on and though I noticed, I was not bothered by it.

Just like Ready Player One is stuffed to the gills with 80’s pop culture references, EvoAngel is chocked full of science – particularly biology and fungi knowledge. At times it became overwhelming and is not necessary for the understanding of the plot and so I skimmed a bit, but if you’re looking to further your knowledge, then you’ll absolutely be thrilled to read this book.

The quotes at the chapter beginnings were interesting and applicable and I read every word (I’m prone to skipping this kind of thing). I loved every quote that Rice chose.

I thought that the kids – Dylan especially – didn’t talk or act like kids. I understand he’s supposed to be a prodigy of sorts, but at 12 years old he shouldn’t be able to fend off a menacing adult.

This novel was published by Undergrowth Publishing on 02/16/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Ellen King Rice’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (12/31/13)

Summary:

In a kingdom where the first daughter will inherit and the second daughter is a just-in-case replacement, the third daughter has more freedom to choose her life’s course. For Aniri, she’s ready to step away from the kingdom and marry for love, but fate and duty will not leave her alone. The threat of war and politics makes every daughter count and Aniri must consider a marriage proposal and alliance with the barbarian prince of the north.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

This book was easy to read. It had an intriguing and fun plot and the characters were full of personality. The book had a lot of action and kept me hooked!

I liked how this book was diverse – it featured an alternate world that is fantastical, but also is similar to an exotic India. The characters were also based off of people from India.

I liked how the main character, Princess and Third Daughter Aniri, was both active and passive in her story. She was pushed along by her environment and the elements of the story’s plot, but she was active in how she dealt with her fate. She was given a choice to marry the barbarian prince or not, even though she felt that selfishly choosing to marry her own lover was never a choice for her. She actively sought out knowledge about the prince and the so-called flying war machine. She was her own person with her own thoughts. Though at times she displays extreme good luck and perseverance where most of us would falter and fail, she is a larger than life character in a larger than life story.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on December 31st, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Bubble Run 5k and RunDouble Couch to 5k App Review! Running Goals Wrapup

Before the race: I had signed us up for the Bubble Run in Everett, knowing it would take place on the very last day I planned to run for my couch to 5k app (a 9-week training app).

 

During the race: We ran and weaved and dodged around the bubble foam and the walkers to clock in around 9:30 for this “official” 5k. Overall we had fun, but I won’t be doing it again. When asked about parking for this event, the volunteer at race packet pickup the day before told me, “get here an hour to an hour and a half early and pray.” We took my Miata and found a discarded squeeze of a spot a couple blocks away without trouble. Yay Paul for parallel parking so well. The event was packed! I’m not fond of crowds and would prefer to run a 5k without this many people. If you’re looking to run the entire time, this is not the event for you. Bottlenecks slowed us down at the four bubble stations throughout the course. It was fun to go through the bubble/foam machines, but I was trying to run the event in less than 30 minutes, so this made it quite the challenge. This run also included two slow hills. It was cool to run out halfway and then back – so you knew when you were halfway and could run alongside those making their way back (the other side of the street).

 

The training before:

Total distance ran: 64.2 miles

Total time spent running: 707 minutes (11.78 hrs) with an average 10.52/mile pace)

Fastest mile: 9:26

Slowest mile: 13:50

5k official time: 29:30

Mile before training: 11:02

Mile after training: 9:26 (16% faster!)

The full stats:

Date

Distance

Time – M

Time – S

mile time

4/10/2016

Running

1

13

50

13:50

4/23/2016

Running

1

11

 2

11:02

6/16/2017

Running

1

10

 48

10:48

6/27/2017

C25k

1.56

18

 30

11:51

6/29/2017

C25K

1.67

18

 30

11:04

7/1/2017

C25K

1.77

18

 28

10:25

7/4/2017

C25K

1.68

18

 57

11:16

7/6/2017

C25K

1.7

19

 0

11:10

7/9/2017

C25K

1.68

19

 0

11:18

7/11/2017

C25K

1.36

15

 0

11:01

7/13/2017

C25K

1.36

15

 0

11:01

7/15/2017

C25K

1.33

15

 0

11:16

7/17/2017

Running

1

10

 3

10:03

7/18/2017

C25K

1.96

21

30

10:58

7/20/2017

C25K

1.94

21

 30

11:04

7/22/2017

C25K

1.99

21

 30

10:48

7/25/2017

C25K

1.85

21

 0

11:21

7/26/2017

Everyday Athlete

2

20

 0

10:00

7/27/2017

C25K

1.86

21

 0

11:17

7/30/2017

C25K

1.9

20

 0

10:31

8/1/2017

C25K

2.03

24

 0

11:49

8/2/2017

Everyday Athlete

2

20

 0

10:00

8/3/2017

C25K

2.19

23

 0

10:30

8/6/2017

C25K

2.33

22

 0

9:26

8/8/2017

C25K

2.59

25

 0

9:39

8/9/2017

Everyday Athlete

2

20

 0

10:00

8/10/2017

C25K

2.24

25

 0

11:09

8/13/2017

C25K

2.65

25

 0

9:26

8/15/2017

C25K

2.89

28

 0

9:41

8/17/2017

C25K

2.84

28

 0

9:51

8/19/2017

C25K

2.95

28

 0

9:29

8/22/2017

C25K

2.78

30

 0

10:47

8/24/2017

C25K

 3.15

30

 0

 9:52

8/26/2017

Bubble Run 5k

3.1

29

 30

 9:52

I tried so hard on that 11:02 mile on 4/23/16. I don’t feel any different about running now that I’ve run over 50 miles and completed a consistent running program (RunDouble couch to 5k timed app), but the stats don’t lie. I can run continuously for over 3 miles! I can run three consecutive under 10-minute miles. I couldn’t even reach a 10-minute mile when I started running.

Is running easier now? No way. Running is just more accessible (for endurance), i.e. I just got better at it. The first few steps during my longer run times were always as hard as my last few steps (unless I powered up the hill in my neighborhood, then I would start to wheeze).

Have I told you that I have asthma? I have exercise-induced asthma. You can hear it when I’ve pushed too far with the wheeze in my every breath as I attempt to breathe slowly and pull in enough oxygen. It presents itself only when I’m (going too fast up a hill – hiking, running too fast, biking too hard, doing anything difficult too fast or too forcefully). The definition of exercise-induced asthma, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Exercised-induced asthma is a narrowing of the airways in the lungs that is triggered by strenuous exercise. It causes shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and other symptoms during or after exercise.”

I don’t remember ever having asthma growing up. Apparently, a lot of people have this. Even with my inhaler (gotta go to a doctor and get a prescription and then hopefully you have insurance or else it’ll run you around $70 for the inhaler + the doc visit), I can’t push too hard. The inhaler helps so much, though.

When running without the inhaler, I get phlegm in my throat and my entire throat burns if it’s too cold out. It feels like torture and it doesn’t immediately go away if I stop moving. For minutes after I stop, the sensation of my throat being scraped with fire continues. I think it’s worse than eating hot peppers (which I avoid).

Training my body to run when I can’t breathe if I’ve pushed too much, is difficult. I don’t want to fall back on my ‘excuse,’ but I don’t want it to define my abilities when it comes to exercise or training. The asthma is real. I’ve had panic attacks when the asthma gets so bad. Imagine not being able to breath. It takes no time at all for your brain to realize that you need to breath to live. Ever drink out of a water fountain in a public place where the stream was so thin that you couldn’t get a full mouthful? And you just ran a marathon, so you’re super parched. That’s what trying to breathe with asthma is like.

I’ve never been much for endurance. Just ask my Dad. One of my fitness/running goals was to pass the FBI fitness test for ‘endurance’ and as you can see, it took me weeks to get there. To pass (as a female), I had to run 1.5 miles in under 14:00 minutes. Sounds easy, right? That’s better than a 10-minute mile. I don’t recall ever doing a 10-minute mile in my life until now. I was never a runner. But I passed the FBI fitness test!

I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of my body for pulling through for me. Will I continue running? Probably not consistently. I might join the Wednesday night running group in Kirkland. I might see how far I can run without stopping at my ‘maintenance’ pace (11-minute mile). I bet I could run for quite a while before getting too tired/breathless to continue.

I started the couch to 5k thinking, I’m not a runner and there’s no way I’ll be able to do this. I can’t run to my mailbox and back without getting winded. I can’t hike up a hill without getting asthma. Starting off with running for just 60 seconds was very doable. Letting myself run slow was key. I didn’t try to speed up my pace until the last two weeks of the app. That is where those 9.5-minute miles come in. If I can do it, you can do it.

Tips I learned from others and myself:

  1. Get yourself some good running shoes (Thanks New Balance for your perfectly ugly, yet perfectly comfortable running shoes for under $100)
  2. Get yourself some good running socks (I know, this sounds like a scam, but I never got chafing or other shoe-foot rubbing issues). I tried those colorful Balega socks. They were nice, but I prefer my New Balance socks.
  3. Get yourself a running belt.
  4. Earbuds are a hassle, but I liked to listen to my audiobooks while running. I got these and they work decently.
  5. Don’t try to go fast. A 5k for non-runners is an endurance test. You can speed up later. To start, go slow!
  6. It’s okay not to finish or to stop when you’re supposed to be running, but don’t SKIP! I took the advice of scheduling my run EVERY Tuesday and Thursday and then Saturday/Sunday depending on how my weekend was going. Never skip your weekday runs! The app told me I could repeat a week, but I was able to follow the course every time. It helped me to run a mile without stopping before the app ramped up to 8-minutes running without stopping. It gave me the confidence that I needed in order to follow the app and to know that I could run a mile without stopping.
  7. Keeping my ears warm, kept me from getting headaches. I got a lovely thick headband during FitFest in Redmond and absolutely love it!
  8. Protein! Don’t forget some protein post workout.
  9. Don’t forget to eat before you run! I liked to get a small carb before I ran (like half a banana or some oatmeal)
  10. Hydrate! I never brought water with me and I tried to drink at least 8 oz. before running and over 60 oz. that day if I had run and 16 oz. or more right after I ran.
  11. Stretching! Don’t forget those hammies! My PT told me to hold my touching my toes pose (actively) for at least 45 seconds every time I ran. Joining the Everyday Athlete running group was great for me because they showed me what they do for stretching before/after and a good warm up. My app never told me to stretch! I wish it did.

Because of how strongly I feel about accomplishing your goals, trying to challenge yourself, and running with asthma, I started writing a new novel based on my experiences!

And just because: The money I spent… $171.80 for 9 weeks of running and a 5k.

  1. Runner’s belt – $7.99
  2. Running shoes from New Balance with two pairs of running socks – $103.40
  3. Balega socks (1 pair) – $8.99
  4. headband – $5
  5. Earbuds – $13.99
  6. RunDouble app – $3.99 (totally worth it! The app lets you try out the first 2 weeks free)
  7. Bubble Run (single entry) – $28.44

Book Review: The Witches of Dark Root (Daughters of Dark Root Book 1) by April Aasheim

The Witches of Dark Root (Daughters of Dark Root Book 1) by April Aasheim

A New Adult Science Fiction/Supernatural Novel published by Dark Root Press (05/31/13)

Summary:

“Love is the most powerful Magick of all, and sometimes, when misguided, the most destructive.” (Page 208).

Maggie left her hometown years ago. She was glad to be out of reach of her mother and to leave behind her town and her work in the family Magick Shoppe. But now her mother is sick and the town has lost its magic. When Maggie arrives, she is surprised by how different her childhood town of Dark Root is from how she remembered. She must find her roots and her family in order to bring it back to life.

Keywords:

Magic, Witches, Haunted, Warlock, Mystery, Secrets, Family, Love, Home, Sisters, Sibling Rivalry, Illness, Past, Bonds, Escape, Matriarch, Paranormal, Thriller

My Review:

I was very excited to find a paranormal book where the magic element didn’t overtake the book, but was integrated into the story and added to the novel.

I love character driven novels and Witches of Dark Root is a well-written character-driven book. The focus on the sisters and their personalities kept me interested, even though the plot moved a little slow. I rather enjoyed the fact that this book felt like a coming of age book for an adult. Throughout the move back to Dark Root and living through her past and finding new connections with her sisters, Maggie discovers who she is and what she wants out of life.

The hints of something else going on were intriguing and the ending tied up most of my questions.

This novel was published by Dark Root Press on 05/31/2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

April Aasheim’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Author Thursdays: Upcoming Event! (Everett, WA) with local authors and fresh paint!

Fresh Paint and Authors, oh my!

Come check out the event at Lombardi’s and have some snacks too.

Fresh Paint Art Show and Waterfront Book Festival all in one. Can’t be anything better. Several Writer Cooperative authors will be on the Walkway with our books and inside closer to the food.

Date: Saturday, August 19th

Time: 10AM – 3PM

Parking: Available in the front area of Lombardi’s and beyond as well as a large parking lot just before Lombardi’s if you’re heading north on Marine View Drive.

More event details