Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beautiful Burn by Adriane Leigh

Kricket's Chirps

Plot/Story : 5 chirps
Development : 3 chirps
Realism : 3 chirps

Overall : 3.75 chirps

"I knew Reed West was one mistake I wanted to make."

And make that mistake she does. Auburn Lawrence introduces us to the story, but it quickly turns into a memoir written by Reed West himself. Shortly after making the decision to leave his wife, Reed is thrust into teaching a summer writing class. While taking stock of the students, Reed's mind changes about being forced into the class when he sees Auburn is once again his student. He instantly flashes back to her high school career, when the two of them had found common ground in their love for literature. As it turns out, Reed - Mr. West - has never viewed Auburn as just a student but more as an equal.

"It was important for a teacher to stay calm, cool-headed, and make the right decision, always."
"She was forbidden and taboo but our past pulled at us."

This is a sentiment that Reed repeats several times throughout the first couple chapters of the book. I almost thought that the story was going to be that of a chase, or a challenge. Obviously from reading spoilers we knew that the two of them would eventually end up together, at least for a portion of time. I had no idea that it would happen as quickly as it did. After a three year absence, and a minute of internal struggle on the level of inappropriateness, Reed kisses Auburn. From that point, Auburn is convinced that her feelings are and always have been returned (which appears to be true), and that the two are soul mates reunited by the fates.

"Imagine wanting something so badly, you're consumed with yearning, seeing something every single day, knowing you can never do more than look."

For a brief period of time, Reed does resist his baser urges. This action throws Auburn into a bit of a tantrum in which she refuses to attend class. When she finally does return to class, Reed is done - he is no longer willing to set aside what he wants. He proves the point by taking Auburn aside and bringing her to climax while the remainder of the class works on their assignments. All in all, the situation was more than a little hot.

"I burn for you, Auburn. You're my beautiful burn."

It's pretty apparent by this point where the story is going. Reed and Auburn are going to give in to each other, have amazing sex, encounter a struggle worthy of destroying their relationship, overcome the struggle, and live happily ever after. This is NOT the case, however. While there is foreshadowing of what's to come if you pay attention to certain comments and scenarios (for me, the final connection between the two was evident in the first paragraph when combined with three other sentences throughout the book), the author attempts to keep the situation less than predictable. While she manages to achieve the task, I felt like there was too much focus put on developing the angst of the story and not enough on developing the characters.

I would have liked to see more of the back story and personal story of the two. There was not much about Auburn's personality and personal life in general. We only saw how she was with Reed, and learned that her parents were divorced early and not friendly with each other. As far as Reed is concerned, we learned so little about him that the whole story felt like the recounting of a midlife crisis from early on. By the time we reached the last handful of chapters, circumstances come to light that would have garnered a lot more sympathy for me had I felt like I knew more about him as a person.

Overall, I would rate this book somewhere between a 2 & 3, unfortunately leaning towards a 2. In theory, the story was great, and unique. I just wish it had been a bit less complicated and more realistic.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fit Readers : Weekly Check In #2

Here we are, closing up week one of our journey together!  I'm so happy with the results that I was able to achieve this week alone.  Not only am I able to say that I dropped 3.4 lbs on the scale, but I was able to purchase a size smaller than normal.  Now, I know that the size change was a work in progress before I started down this path, but this doesn't change the fact that I was finally able to make the transition after pushing myself - and reading the motivation of others.

If you all remember, I had hoped to report that after my first week back to the gym routine I had spent a minimum of one hour on the treadmill and had at least 2 miles under my belt for the week.  Here are the actual results of the week.

1.  Monday I briskly walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes, just to get in the swing of things.  A little more than a mile was logged.

2.  Tuesday was 30 minutes on an Arc Trainer, burning 389 calories.

3.  New tradition : #5kWednesday.  3.26 miles, 50.59 minutes, 365 calories.

4. Thursday was a recovery day, logging a measly 1.94 miles for 194 calories in 30 minutes.  This is actually not measly, but in comparison to the previous days, I was definitely feeling relaxed.

 Now, tell me how your first week went.  I challenge you to choose one negative behavior from the week before to break.  Is it going to be to cut back from a pot of coffee to half a pot?  Maybe cut one soda a day out of the diet?  Let me know in the comments.

 And, I invite everyone to join me for #5kWednesday.  You don't need to run, or even walk quickly.  Take your time, or just push yourself those last few steps on your pedometer to make it to the 3.1 miles.  YOU CAN DO IT!

Happy healthiness!  Talk to you next week!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

FitReaders: Weekly Check In

This is nothing new.  Every year, that unfinished resolution rears its ugly head and takes root at the top of our New Year's list.  Lose weight, we say.  Get in shape, we say.  If only reading burned more calories, we whine.  The thing is, we find ourselves on social media chatting it up with fellow bookwhores more often than not, so why not find motivation and encouragement from others like ourselves?  I recently became a part of a Facebook group like this, and while my comments and posts are sporadic, I am not absent.  I'm reading the posts of others, I'm sympathizing in their struggles, and I'm rejoicing their triumphs.  So, I've decided to take this one head on and work with this group, and you can too.  Here's how:

1.  Find us on Facebook at, a fabulous group hosted by The Geeky Blogger!

2. Make your goals attainable, start small.  Every little bit helps.  For me, I'm going to get back to my routine of hitting the gym 4 days a week, for at least 30 minutes.

3. DON'T focus on numbers!  This is where we get ourselves down every year.  The number doesn't mean as much as your quality of life, which you will feel improve before you see results on the dreaded scale.  Walk a little longer, breathe a little deeper, and stretch it out.  The more you do these things, the easier it's going to be to do a little more.  And that's when you'll see the results on the scale.

4.  Keep in contact with your motivators!  I hear with AA and other anonymous groups, it's important to keep in contact with your sponsor when you're feeling down.  The group above is your sponsor of sorts, and any time you're feeling like letting it go, STOP!  Make a post!  Drop a comment!  Let us know, and we'll pull you out of your slump.

5.  Last but not least : BE HAPPY!  Focusing on positivity improves metabolism and reduces the likelihood of stress eating.  (At least in my experience, but I'm not a scientist.)  Doesn't hurt to give it a shot, though.  Right?

So, for week one, these are the rules I've set myself.  Should be easy, right?  Let's see how next week turns out.  I hope to report that I've spent at least an hour total on the treadmill, and possibly run 2 miles throughout the week.

Good luck everyone!  I hope to hear from you!