Author Archives: fromfltond

About fromfltond

My name is Andrea and I am a 30-something-year-old mom, fitness instructor, breast cancer survivor, and former English teacher. I moved from the sunshine state (Florida) to North Dakota (Santa's front yard). Welcome to my blog! From FL to ND follows my adjustment to living in a freezing climate and my interests in fitness, food, books, family, and (mostly) healthy living.

Summer Reflection & New Rides

 

The Ledges, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Ledges, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Last month my son and I retuned from a wonderful vacation back to my birth state of Ohio.  While vacationing, I had the opportunity to hike to and through some amazing valleys, ledges, and waterfalls.  While in nature I took the time to live in my moment, looking into the lush green foliage, sun illuminating the many wild flowers, and the creeks and rivers gurgling purposefully through the rocks and ridges. I would close my eyes and breathe in deeply, for a moment expanding my awareness through the bubble of calm that is the atrium.

Sometimes I could hear cars, but in those moments the sound seems distant. Instead I notice the pocket of beauty that I’m in. I hear the quiet breathing of the plants. Here, in the middle of the city of Cuyahoga, I am still.

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Just like this place, a haven of stillness in the center of the city, we need to pause in the center of our lives.

Sometimes, our schedules, our commitments, our responsibilities, they weigh down on us. We see it in the rounded shoulders, the downward gazes, the barely perceptible sighs as we give our attention to all the things in our lives that need it. We may seek externally for something that might allow us to have a break, to stop everything from rushing along… just for a moment.

Here, within the rhythms of the days, we take time to touch the stillness. We create the pause we are looking for, the chance we are seeking to step out of the rush for a moment and into ourselves.

Each time we come here, we immerse ourselves in yoga, but we do not withdraw. Rather, we are here to live yoga, to integrate it into life, to swirl our eager way into this space and then to breathe the stillness out into the rest of our lives.

The more we take this pause, the more we are able to pause out there, in the swirl. The more we dive inside, the easier it becomes to see. And the more we practice this stillness, the better chance we have to find clarity in the middle of a grand decision, or pause in the middle of our emotions, or find silence in the middle of our anxious mind-chatter.

Because the truth is, there is a sacred space within. We carry it everywhere we go. The entranceway is the breath, the exitway framed by a sparkling new world that greets eyes fresh from meditation.

Clarifying our minds and coming back and back to the present does not necessarily mean we never suffer doubt or pain. But this practice does invite us to master it, again and again, in shorter and shorter time periods. In just breathing and listening we align with ourselves and our purpose. And from the haven of our inner sacred space, we are able to step back into our lives with calm presence.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to hold space here in this beautiful location, to have had some small part in spreading stillness within the community here. I see it on the faces of all the beautiful souls who join me on their mats during each yoga class. I have lost count of how many times I have seen someone sit down on their mat and sigh… not the heavy sigh of responsibility, but rather the deep, soul-easing sigh of coming home. The kind of sigh that allows worry to just slip off the shoulders because the inhale was so big, and that lets emotion swoosh away along the smooth slide of the exhale.

 

Through just breathing, and reconnecting, we unwind ourselves from the threads that bind our mind to our lives. Through just taking a moment, a pause In-Between, our soul has a chance to breathe also. When we stop, and observe, and step behind our mind for a moment, we shift. Our eyes become that of the watcher, our perspective becomes the unchanging. We enter our inner, sacred space.

The truth is, we are enormous. We are connected to an infinite sea of existence. The mind itself is an infinite reservoir of flux, always changing, always clinging to something new and painfully letting go of something old. But the fundamental law of the universe is Balance. And if we have an infinite reservoir of flux, we must also have an infinite reservoir of stillness… somewhere.

When we take time out from the demands of the world outside and dive underneath the skin… when we truly feel ourselves… we know the immensity of our essence. We see our path through life with a different perspective, one that rises above the crowded emotions of the mind and takes in all the elements that have come together to create this moment in time.

When we take time to dig underneath the tangles and the layers, we find that fertile ground from which to grow. When we pause for long enough, the binding tangle unwinds, and space opens up. And we flow into what is right.

I enter the studio and gym doors, a relaxed smile on my face, smooth floor calling. Once again, I take a deep breath. I release it in a sigh that comes from somewhere deep inside, and all of the ups and downs of the outside world dissipate.

This is enough. A stolen moment. A deep breath. A sacred space, wherever it may be. A safe bubble of peace, inviting us to enter the still reservoir that each of us contains within us.

Namaste,
Andrea

New Rides are up and published on my Ananda website, so check em out!!

Legs are Smokin

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May Newsletter

sprint into may

Ananda Yoga & Fitness
Newsletter

Spring is a wonderful opportunity to explore new beginnings. Nature shows us signs of new life with longer days and in each tender green sprout as we see the earth begin to emerge from the peaceful winter rest. We may feel these same energies stirring inside of us, reminding ourselves of our own connection to nature.

A good gardener know that in order to produce fruitful plants, one must prepare, nurture, and grow the soil first. Once that groundwork is laid, the plants are offered the chance to grow to their fullest and brightest potential. We may consider our body as the soil and our potential as the plant. In order to nurture our seedlings, we must first nurture where it will grow.

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Yoga, pranayama, and meditation are gifts that we may use to prepare our body for our seedling potential. It is with these tools that we may begin to create and expand space, peace, and love within ourselves. What we feed our body is equally important, for our food is what grows us. When chosen mindfully, our food can work harmoniously with us, nurturing our body and mind. Begin exploring your connection to food and the ceremony surrounding it. Why do you eat what you eat?  How does what you eat make you feel in that particular moment?

Make a goal this month to plant healthy seeds of nutrients inside your body to help fuel you, both physically and mentally.

Namaste,
Andrea                         

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9 Reasons to Lift Weights

Watch a documentary about people who lift weights and you’ll likely be watching some of the world’s elite body builders hone their physique to abnormal largeness. Take a peek into your local gym and you’ll see something quite different. Sure, there may be a handful of body builders there, but they’re lifting right next to an accountant, a store clerk, a mom, and a retiree. That’s because all these people realize one thing: lifting weights is for everyone.

But is weight lifting really for you? Here are nine reasons the answer is yes.

#1: You Get Happy

Yes, exercise of any kind gets the happy chemicals running through your body, but lifting weights seems to have an advantage on your happy level. Why? Lots of reasons that are listed below.

#2: You’re More Useful

You were born with a great affinity to do something. You may be gifted to argue cases in court, cook an amazing meal, or keep cool while caring for a dozen 5-year-olds. Lifting weights helps you do each of them better. On top of that, it gives you the capacity to lend a helping hand when someone is struggling to lift a heavy box or open a stuck door.

Suddenly, you’re not stuck waiting for help when a demanding task is put in front of you. Instead, you bend at the knees and get to work.

#3: You Get Focused

If you’ve ever struggled with trying to figure out what to do at the gym, I’m here to help. That includes lifting weights. As your strength and the amount of weight you lift increase, intense focus is required to avoid injury. This focus in the gym—if you let it—will carry over into your non-gym activities.

#4: Your Body

Lifting weights does so much for your physique. Push yourself hard enough and your body will amaze you constantly. But your physique isn’t the only beneficiary of weight lifting. Lifting helps your body fend off illnesses and injury by helping you shed unwanted pounds, lowering your blood pressure, improving your heart function, and more.

#5: You Do the Impossible

When you start lifting weights, you can’t imagine lifting any more than you do in your first session. Three weeks later, you’ve already passed the impossible mark. By doing this over and over, you pick up a mental toughness and confidence that will aid you in all areas of life.

#6: You Eat Better

Have you been struggling to keep your daily calorie count down? Nothing helps you stay in line better than working out. Your regular weight-lifting routine makes you more aware of what you put in your body, making it easier to say “No” to those temptations that are always around the corner.

#7: Your Bones Get Stronger

While the first thing you may notice after lifting weights is stronger muscles, your bones are also secretly gaining strength at the same time. Since the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones only increases as you age, guarding against them with weight lifting only makes sense!

#8: Your Balance Improves

Staying on your feet may not be an issue today, but as you age, it will become one of your top priorities. This is especially true considering how often elderly people lose their balance and wind up with life-altering broken bones. Lifting weights at any age will give you a balance and boost in core strength that will last throughout your life.

#9: Your Brain Function Increases

Believe it or not, people who lift weights aren’t the meatheads they’re made out to be. Quite the opposite. Research has proven that lifting weights actually has the power to improve your brain’s ability to do its job.

Reach your fitness potential faster by coupling your good diet with a challenging exercise program. I’m here to motivate, instruct and encourage you to reach your goal.

Upcoming Trainings With Andrea

Basic Aerial Yoga Training

Have you ever wanted to try Aerial Yoga, learn the basics, or possibly teach aerial classes?  If so, this training is for you!  Come join us in Minot, ND this September to begin your Aerial Yoga journey!  Click here to learn more and register!

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Check out some new and sweaty ride profiles for your classes or for a great workout at home!!

Grow in February

Happy February everyone!!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful winter, and that all is well with you.

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I’ve got a few new blog posts up on my Ananda Yoga & Fitness website.  The latest post is our Growing in February goals.  It’s never too late to join in and #GrowIn2017!!

valentines

I also have some new spin ride profiles!  Check out the Valentine’s Day ride!  It’s a love hate kinda ride.  😉

rare-objects

If you are looking for a good read, check out Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro.  I absolutely loved this book and the story line!

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I also recently read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  What an amazing book from a first time author.  Definitely read it.  You’ll find yourself laughing and tearing up during this fast read.  My favorite character was the cat.  You’ll understand once you start reading.

Growing in 2017

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Well, I know it has been forever and a day since y’all last heard from me in the blogging world.  My life became busier, so something had to go to the wayside.

We’ll I guess you could say I’m back.  I will not be blogging everyday.  However, you will hear from me several times a month!  I’ll continue to share my life in fitness and wellness with y’all, but my goal is for us to all work together and grow together in our future endeavors.

Ananda logo with text

My blog will now move to my website Ananda Yoga & Fitness, so check out my latest post for a quick briefing on our 2017 outline of growth!

I’ve also just published a new spin profile, Everybody Up!  It is a fast paced, sweat dripping Interval Ride!  Check it out while it is on sale!!

4th of July Ride

Happy early 4th of July y’all!!

I don’t know about you, but our summer is flying by.  Between my son’s different sports, and our jobs, it is nonstop on the go right now.  I hope everyone is having a fun and active summer too!

This summer has also allowed me the chance to get back into the weight room and lift weights seriously again.  I have my wonderful friend Claudine to thank for my reemergence in the weight room.  Without her as a workout buddy, my butt would continue to be lazy with the weights.  We had a great first month of working out together with some amazing gains!  Looking forward to what July brings with our workouts.

Today I taught an awesome and fun 4th of July ride in my spin class.  I tried to keep the song titles “American/Independence/Something just related to the 4th” themed.  My son told me I was really stretching it by adding Pitbull’s Celebrate song.  I went with the whole, “We are CELEBRATING the independence of our country,” reasoning.  He then rolled his eyes at me.  But hey!  You just gotta have a fast paced Pitbull song in your ride.

Click here to go to my new website for this great 4th of July ride!!

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Anyway, we had a blast sweating and working during class today!  Since it was a special ride today, that also meant we had to have glow-in-the-dark necklaces for the ride.  We then followed the ride up with a blueberry custard cake and vanilla ice cream…Totally and completely healthy/nutritious calories too.  Sadly you can’t see everyone in the pic above, but I promise you they are smiling!

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I also wore my totally “American” fitness instructor’s tank top.  It’s our Duty to kick your Booty!  My awesome friend Jalene put this tank top together for me.

Wishing everyone an awesome and safe 4th this year!!

 

Five Whole Years

A picture my son took from the Uhaul when we entered North Dakota for the first time.

A picture my son took from the Uhaul when we entered North Dakota for the first time.

Five years ago today, I woke up for the first time in North Dakota.  I remember waking up and wanting to get the house unpacked…Well, the coffee, mugs, and coffee maker unpacked.  Once the coffee was in me, I dove into setting up our “temporary” house in North Dakota.

I broke-down each box and stowed them away in our basement, because I knew I would be returning to our home in Florida within a few years.

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It is five years later, and we are now permanently in North Dakota.  We decided to sell our Florida home last year, and it finally sold last September.  I’m so sad to see that house go.  That was the home we brought our son home from the hospital to, where our son made his first and life long friends, where we got our first family dog, Lady…Where I woke up and there was NEVER snow on the ground.  Our Florida home was the best first home our family could have ever asked for, and I’m beyond grateful for the time we had there.

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We have quite the good life up here in good old ND.  Our whole family has made so many amazing, kind, and caring friends here…except for the dogs.  The cat and squirrel population seem to not want to make friends with them.  My husband and son get to fish and hunt almost year round, so we are saving some money on the grocery bill, and when you have a growing son that is a BIG deal!  This year my little man got his very first turkey too!

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Since it is our five year anniversary living in North Dakota, Mother Nature (in all her infinite stupidity) decided to celebrate with snow this morning…Bless her cruel little heart.  So, here’s to more adventurous years in North Dakota!

Read It!

Happy Monday Everyone!!

As promised from my last post, today’s blog post is my latest book recommendations.  So, pull up your Amazon wish list, Goodreads app, Book Buddies app, or just a paper and pencil and get ready to get these books added to your lists!!  Oh…Grab yourself some coffee too!

Alright…I’ll do this in batches.  When I first got all the books together that I wanted to recommend (only the ones I had read in the past 6 months) I discovered that my list was way too long for a single blog post, so I’ll have more blog posts with book recommendations coming your way each month with more and more great reads.

For this post I’m gonna stick with 7 books, and hopefully they will tide you over till next month.  I also want to point out that I love many different types of genres, so you will see chick lit, historical fiction, teen lit, biographies, etc!

Books

This first stack of books contains a few authors I had never read before, and yes Nora Roberts is one of them.  Now don’t start judging me by recommending a romance author.

dark witch

The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts came highly recommended to me by my friend, Claudine, and she is a book worm just like me with great taste.  I got Claudine hooked on the Discovery of Witches Trilogy, and she swore to me that I would love Nora Roberts latest instalments.  When she told me I had to read the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy (Dark Witch is the first book in the trilogy) I rolled my eyes, and I’m pretty sure I laughed at her.  I too can be a book snob, and I put Nora Roberts into that category of lame/pathetic/cheesy/drivel.  Sadly, I should know better than to categorize an author I’ve never even read.  I absolutely loved the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, and read them all in 4 days!  They definitely were NOT drivel.  I fell in love with each character and their spunk from the beginning.

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I also want to point out that the gorgeous setting of this trilogy takes place at and actual resort in Ireland, Ashford Castle.  I’m already planning a bucket list vacation to Ashford, since I absolutely fell in love with this castle throughout the O’Dwyer Trilogy.  So, if you are looking for a fast paced, adventure filled, exciting read, and yes it is filled with magic and a bit of romance this is a book/trilogy you HAVE to read!

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland…

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

On to the next book I devoured in one day…

Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult first grabbed my attention with her historical fiction novel, The Storyteller (If you haven’t read it add it to the list too).  Picoult’s latest novel, Leaving Time, is another moving tale dealing with loss, mystery, and finding help and friends where you least expect them.  This is honestly a book unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I’m sure you will fall into this tale and never want to come out of it.  You may also find yourself championing the cause of elephants and their futures once you have finished this novel.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
 
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
 
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

Prisoner of Night and Fog

The Prisoner of Night and Fog was a book our book club read awhile back.  I started this book one night when I climbed into bed, and I didn’t storp reading it till I was done somewhere around 3am.  I was dragging butt the next day, but it was totally worth it. I know you will love this story!   Here is a brief description…

A gripping historical thriller set in 1930s Munich, Prisoner of Night and Fog is the evocative story of an ordinary girl faced with an extraordinary choice in Hitler’s Germany. Fans of Code Name Verity will love this novel full of romance, danger, and intrigue!

Gretchen Müller grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her uncle Dolf—who has kept her family cherished and protected from that side of society ever since her father sacrificed his life for Dolf’s years ago. Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

When she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen, who claims that her father was actually murdered by an unknown comrade, Gretchen doesn’t know what to believe. She soon discovers that beyond her sheltered view lies a world full of shadowy secrets and disturbing violence.

As Gretchen’s investigations lead her to question the motives and loyalties of her dearest friends and her closest family, she must determine her own allegiances—even if her choices could get her and Daniel killed.

big little lies

Liane Moriarty is a favorite author of mine, so obviously I’ve read all her books.  Big Little Lies is Moriarty’s latest and greatest story to date.  It’s a tale of moms, private schools, money, snobbery and …murder!

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?  
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.  

But who did what?
 Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

one plus one

One Plus One is the first JoJo Moyes novel I have read.  I kept seeing her books in the books store on the best sellers rack, and my friends have been telling me to read her books nonstop.  Well, a few months ago I finally broke down and bought one.

Right when I read first chapter, I knew I would be hooked. You have your unique but somewhat regular family. Jess is a single mother with two kids, her ex husband left 2 years ago and she’s trying to meet ends. Her daughter Tanzie is brilliant! She gets offered a scholarship into private school but there is still a charge that needs to be paid off. When Jess tries to take her to Olympiad in hopes that the winnings could cover the tuition, Jess ends up going on a roadtrip with Ed, an attractive stranger who steals her heart.

Now that I’m trying to write this review, I’m already missing Jess and her children. I thought it was genius to have the book written from everyone’s point of views, because it definitely made me connect with everyone more. I loved everyone. Jess, Ed, NORMAN!, Nicky, Tanzie.  Their conversations were funny, thoughtful, and Jess’s optimism wasn’t over the top. Typically I don’t like books are that too sweet but Jess has some wittiness to her, and Ed definitely had his flaws that made me love him even more.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
 
One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

the girl who came home

Inspired by true events, the New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.

Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

The rosie project

The Rosie Project is one of those laugh out loud stories that draw you in from the first chapter.

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

I hope y’all find these recommendations as fun, engaging, and sleep depriving as I did!  Happy Reading!!

 

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