Friday, September 20, 2013

First by Rich Froning

Read First Chapter Here
Physical Strength Can Only Take You So Far

Reigning CrossFit World Champion Rich Froning is “The Fittest Man on Earth.” He’s fast. He’s strong. And he’s incredibly disciplined. But it takes more than physical strength to compete and win at an elite level. It takes incredible mental and spiritual toughness as well. And it is the precise balance of all three that makes Rich Froning a champion.

In First, readers come alongside Rich as he trains for and competes in back-to-back-to-back CrossFit World Championships. Along the way, Rich shares invaluable training tips, motivational techniques, and spiritual insights that, in keeping with the CrossFit philosophy, will prepare you to respond to any real-life physical, mental and spiritual challenge.

First by Rich Froning was an inspiring and interesting book that really helped me to understand more about CrossFit, Rich's life, and his faith. The book was well written, and it clearly portrayed Rich's life as a child, his introduction to CrossFit, his first competition, and his discovery and growth in a relationship with Jesus after that point. Rich shows with great conviction and personal examples the importance of living, competing, and working for God's glory alone as well as learning how to be open and vocal about one's faith even when you feel uncomfortable or nervous about doing it. First also includes the insider look into the CrossFit games, the other famous CrossFit athletes, and owning and running a CrossFit affiliated gym. Before reading this book I was not sure what I thought of CrossFit. I have friends who are dedicated CrossFitters, I watched the 2013 CrossFit Games, and I was vaguely familiar with many of the exercises used. Even so, I was kind of doubtful of the safety and purpose of CrossFit as a whole. After reading this book I have a much better understanding of the history and purpose of CrossFit, how it can be beneficial to many people, and the safety that is enforced behind the scenes. While I still wonder about many of the workouts, I do think the exercises themselves are safe, and I was glad to see from Rich's book how CrossFit has helped so many people in many different ways. First also included a list of traditional and Hero CrossFit workouts and what they entail as well as short descriptions of Olympic lifting and CrossFit exercise terms.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked learning more about a guy that I really admire as an athlete and a believer, and I found the new information I read about CrossFit from an insider's perspective to be very beneficial. Who knows, maybe once I get through college I will join a CrossFit affiliate now...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

City on Fire by Tracy L. Higley

As Vesuvius churns, a slave girl-turned-gladiator joins forces with an unlikely source to seek justice.

In the coastal town of Pompeii, a new gladiator prepares to fight. But this gladiator hides a deadly secret: she’s a runaway Jewish slave girl named Ariella, disguised as a young boy. A savvy fighter, Ariella determines to triumph in the arena, knowing her life will be forfeit should anyone uncover the truth.

Cato, a wealthy politician, moved to Pompeii after tiring of the corruption in Rome. But he soon learns that Pompeii is just as corrupt, and if he doesn’t play the game, his family could pay the price. Determined to bring about justice for the citizens of Pompeii, Cato searches for allies. But what he discovers instead is a confounding group of Christians . . . and a young female gladiator whose fame is growing daily.

Political unrest reaches a boiling point as Christians are jailed and executed, and the mountain in the distance threatens to destroy the city with its river of fire. Cato and Ariella must act quickly and courageously to save their loved ones before all is lost.

City on Fire by Tracy L. Higley was an enjoyable and highly insightful novel that painted a clear and believable picture of ancient Pompeii and the Roman Empire. The descriptions and conversations were well written and showed that extensive research that been completed to write this novel. The plot line was interesting and contained romance, mystery, suspense, and faith in a balanced manner. The story transitioned smoothly from one event or aspect to another and created an easy to follow novel. The narration of City on Fire was third person, but was presented alternatively from the perspective of Cato and Ariella so that the reader had an idea of what both main characters were thinking about each major situation.

The characters of this novel were well written and realistic. I enjoyed the interactions between Cato and Ariella as they struggled to overcome their differences in both personality and life situations and to survive. I thought both characters experienced substantial character growth as the novel progressed and as they learned more about God, faith, and trust.

Overall, I found City on Fire by Tracy L. Higley to be an excellent novel and a wonderful addition to her series on the Ancient Wonders of the World. I would highly recommend any of these novels to readers who enjoy historical romances that are accurate, interesting, and clearly portray the truth of the Gospel.

I received this novel for free from in exchange for an honest review.