Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vlog: Read-O-Rama Round 7

Last week I participated in #ReadORama Round 7! I had an insanely good reading week, and it was probably one of the most successful readathons I've ever been a part of. I don't know what got into me last week but I was reading like crazy! I really love participating in #ReadORama and this round was no different. I definitely recommend that you participate in a future round because it is just so much fun! :D I hope you enjoy my obnoxiously long vlog of the week! :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review: Am I Normal Yet?

During #ReadORama last week, I picked up Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne! I really enjoyed it and I don't see too many people talking about this book, so I thought I'd write up a full spoiler-free blog review for this title to hopefully help folks decide whether or not they would like to pick it up. Keep reading for more details on what this book is about and my thoughts on this read!


Am I Normal Yet? follows our protagonist, Evie, who is living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At sixteen, Evie is recovering from a severe OCD episode that put her in the hospital in her early teens and working toward coming off her medication and living as a "normal" teenager. When she begins college (this is the UK, so college = the last two years before univeristy), she's hoping to have a new start to her life - making new friends, dating boys, and being over all what Evie feels is "normal". Because she is striving so hard to be normal, she hides her mental illness from everyone - her friends, her crushes, her parents, and even her therapist - even though she is noticing her old behaviors are creeping back in. This is the story of Evie navigating living with her mental illness while still trying to live her life.

I really enjoyed this book. As someone who also lives with anxiety, I related to Evie on a lot of levels. There are times in this story where Evie would feel frustrated with herself and her mental illness and would question why she couldn't just be "normal" like everyone else is, and I would just be thinking, "GIRRRL I FEEL YOU". When I was a teenager, I was first starting to feel my anxiety for the first time, yet I did not have the language to identify what was happening to me and why I would feel the ways that I felt. I'm sure if I picked this book up as an 18 year old, I would have LOVED it.

This book is an extremely honest look into what it is like to live with mental illness. It puts you right into the mind of Evie, who often feels confused, frustrated, and lost through her recovery journey. It does not hold anything back. This book is sometimes exhausting and extremely difficult to read because you're often questioning along with Evie why some things that should be easy are so much more difficult for her, but I love that Bourne wrote Evie's point of view in this way because that is what it is like to live with mental illness. You are constantly exhausted and are constantly wondering why things have to be so hard when they are seemingly so difficult for everyone else. I'm not sure if Bourne herself lives with mental illness, but it is clear she did her research for this book.

This book is also a great introduction to feminism, especially for teen girls. Evie and her two friends, Lottie and Amber, discuss feminist issues in depth in several scenes which I think is absolutely brilliant. Bourne presents it in a way that doesn't detract from the central story, either, but enhances it which was so important to make it effective. You can see Evie interweave these new ideas into her life throughout the book which I thought was so great to see. Not only is the book a great read to understand mental health, but it's also a great read to understand what it means to be a woman in our society. A+!

As I said above, I think I would have really enjoyed this book as a teenager, and that's because it's written in a really accessible teen voice. There were times when I would get frustrated with Evie and her friends because of the way they would speak to each other, but then I realized that is probably how I spoke with my friends when I was a teenager - constantly ragging on and poking fun at one another, while acting extremely proud and "cool" to save face*. I had to constantly transport myself back to high school and remember how I would act when I was at that age, and then I had a better understanding of Evie and her friends. That's what made me realize I might be just out of the right age range to really appreciate this book. I know 18-year-old Riley would have loved it, though!

I really love that this book is geared toward a YA audience. I think if I picked this up when I was first experience anxiety without knowing what was going on, it would have been a total saving grace when I felt like I was drowning and no one was understanding what I was going through. I hope that teenagers today who are going through what I went through when I was that age are able to get their hands on this book and are able to feel comforted in the fact that there are people out there who get it, that they are not alone, and that there are people out there that will love and support them regardless of what they might be going through.

Overall, I gave this book...
4/5 Stars!

I think this is a really important read for the YA age group and would definitely recommend giving it a read, especially if you're interesting in learning more about what it's like to live with mental illness. This book is the first in The Spinster Club series, and I definitely think I'll be continuing on!


Have you read Am I Normal Yet? What did you think? 
Let me know in the comments!


*I'm definitely not saying that all teenagers act this way, but I can say for myself that I and many of the people at my high school acted this way!

Friday, June 16, 2017

My ENTIRE Organization System!


This week over on my channel, I'm sharing my ENTIRE organization system! I talk a lot about what I use my planner/bullet journal but I don't really chat about the other platforms I use to get organized in other aspects of my life. While this video doesn't delve too far in depth to how each platform works for me, you will get a bit of an overview of each thing and hopefully get a little glimpse into how I balance a busy work and personal life!

The platforms I discuss in this video are my bullet journal, my Google calendars, and Microsoft OneNote. If you have any specific questions about any of these platforms and how I use them, please feel free to leave them in the comments! I would love to answer any and all questions about my organization system and give you any details you're curious about!

I hope you all enjoy the video and happy organizing! :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Marathon #6: Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY

Despite the crushing 90 degree heat that New England has been experiencing over the last few days, I will be starting my sixth marathon training cycle today. Since I'm hopping back into marathon training today, there is no better time to announce what my sixth marathon will be! This fall I will be checking New York off my marathon map of the United States and running the Wineglass Marathon!


My running partner/friend Danielle told me about this marathon when we first started running together last summer. She had run it a few years ago an absolutely fell in love with it. Last summer we trained for separate marathons together, but over the last few months as we were discussing potential fall marathons, we thought hey, why don't we run one together? Danielle had wanted to get back on this course and I hadn't ticked New York off my list yet, so this seemed like a great race for us to run together! Plus - check out these medals!




Definitely want to get my hands on one of those!

I'm looking forward to another great summer of training, especially with a friend at my side! I'm hoping to make this training cycle and marathon my best yet. Like with Pittsburgh, I will provide monthly training updates for you all so you can know how my training is going. I'm hoping that with a friend training with me, I'll be motivated to work hard and do everything correctly. Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Vlog: SciFi Summer Readathon

Last week I participated in the SciFi Summer readathon! It was a wonderful week of awesome SciFi reads as well as an action-packed week of travelling, seeing my parents run their first half marathon, and complaining about how rainy and gross the weather is/savoring the sun when it decided to make and appearance. I really enjoyed my first Seasons of Reading readathon and I totally recommend you check out participating in the next one! <3

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Read-O-Rama Round 7 TBR!

My dear bookish friend Michael and I were chatting over Twitter a few days ago and he informed me that he was planning to participate in the next round of Read-O-Rama, happening during the second full week of June. Not knowing that this was happening and absolutely loving the Read-O-Rama readathon, I instantly hopped on their Twitter to check out the challenges. 

I knew I already had a hefty TBR for the month of June that I wanted to get through and I really didn't want to bump any reads out of my June lineup, so I was thrilled to find that the majority of the challenges met books that I was already planning on reading this month! Because I've already talked about most books (aside from the graphic novel) in my June TBR video, I did not want to make a separate TBR video specifically for the readathon, so instead I'm sharing it right here on the blog! Keep reading to find out which books I will be getting to during the readathon and the challenges that they will be fulfilling!


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
A book with water on the cover: The Puffin Pixels edition, which is the edition that I'll be reading, has water on the cover.
Michael and I will be buddy reading this book during the readathon!

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
A book with RAMA in the title or author's name: You can easily find RAMA in the title.
A book you've been anticipating: I've been wanting to read this since I first got my hands on it back in FEBRUARY.
A book released in the summer of any year: This book was released on August 1, 2015.

Giant Days, vol. 2 by John Allison
A book with under 150 pages: This volume has 128 pages.
A graphic novel: Pretty self explanatory!

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
An own voices book: Zadie Smith is a woman of color and from what I know about this book, both of the main characters in the book are women of color.

The only challenge I am not planning to meet is the Read 7 books challenge. The titles I have picked out are all quite lengthly (minus Giant Days) so I don't think I'll be able to fit in any more than what I have picked out for myself. That's okay, though! I'm still looking forward to having a great time reading next week and to hopefully find some new favorite books! :D

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reading Habits Tag!

Today I'm doing the Reading Habits Tag! This tag is extremely old (something like 4 years old... yikes) but I saw a few of the BookTubers I like to watch doing this tag and thought I would also share my answers to these questions! No one tagged me to do this, I just wanted to participate in this tag and talk a little bit about how I read and the things I do while I'm reading. I hope you enjoy watching, and if you want to share your answers as well, consider yourself tagged! :)


TAG QUESTIONS

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
6. One book at a time or several at once?
7. Reading at home or everywhere?
8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?
9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
11. Do you write in your books?
12. Who do you tag?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Black Bear Half Marathon Snaps {June 2017}

Over the weekend my parents ran and completed their very first half marathon! I made the journey up to the University of Maine Orono campus to cheer them on. Running a half marathon is a huge undertaking and I wanted to be sure they had someone cheering them on and giving them support where they needed it! They both did such a fantastic job and I am super proud of them! Here's a few snaps I grabbed before and after the race, as well as a few ~official race photos~ snapped by Marquis Images.

Pre-race! Ready to rock!

Crushing the half!

Post-race! Happy to be finished!

I made a sign to cheer my parents on. Here are the two finishers posing with it! :D

#prouddaughtermoment #runnerfamily

Friday, June 2, 2017

SSSBC: June 2017 Prompt

AAAAGGGHHHH IT'S JUNE AND THE SUMMER SHORT STORY BOOT CAMP* HAS BEGUN!!!
*Acronym'd to SSSBC (pronounced "triple-S-B-C") for time-saving purposes

It's finally time to pick my first writing prompt of this creative writing project I'm attempting over the summer, and I'm excited to get my first Short Story under way! After some Googling around the internet, I came across this blog that shared a ton of really fun writing prompts. I sifted through them and came across one that I would love to tackle for my first short story of the summer:

"After a religious cult takes over the government, caffeine is outlawed. Tell the story of a brave and coffee-loving family who opens a #CaffeineSpeakeasy."

I really love the aspect of an alternate society as well as the aspect of the use of a #CaffeineSpeakeasy hashtag. I feel like I have a few ways I can go with this prompt and I'm excited to get this project underway! I'll check back in at the end of the month with (hopefully) a finished product to share with you! :)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 TBR! + Sci-Fi Summer Readathon TBR

You guys. How is it already June?! 2017 is nearly half way over - WHAT?! While the year is going scary-fast, I am so excited that the hot summer months are knocking at our door. I LOVE summer and I especially love taking advantage of the warm weather and reading outside all day long. It's seriously the best. This month I have picked much more light-hearted reads to get me into the summer reading groove and I am definitely looking forward to indulging in some easier reads throughout the month. I'm also planning to participate in the Sci-Fi Summer Readathon that starts today and lasts until June 7th (more details below!) which I am super excited to try out! Any who, here are the books that I'm hoping to read this month:

2017 Goal Picks

Non-Fiction: You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery
Diverse: Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Classic: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
TBR Jar: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Other

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson



This week, from June 1st to June 7th, I'm partaking in the Sci-Fi Summer readathon, hosted by Seasons of Reading! This will be my first Seasons of Reading readathon and I'm excited to use this week to catch up on some of the sci-fi titles that have been waiting for me on my shelf. The point of this readathon is (fairly obviously) to read any and all sci-fi titles throughout the course of the week. I've selected three books, two of which I'm already about 100 pages into and need to get off of my "Currently Reading" shelf on GoodReads once and for all. :P We'll see how the week goes - hopefully every title can be completed! :D

The Martian by Andy Weir
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Replica by Lauren Oliver

To hear what I have to say about each title, make sure you watch my TBR video below!

May 2017 Reading Wrap Up!


Despite yet another busy month (this time in my personal life!), I managed to read quite a bit this month! I read a lot of books that I liked this month. Only one book I read this month was below 4 stars which of course I am thrilled about! I'm really happy with my reading for May and I'm looking forward to a more low-key summer to read much, much more!

READING STATS FOR MAY

Participated in 1 readathon (#BookBuddyAThon)
Completed 3 reading challenges
Completed non-fiction, classic, diverse, and TBR jar reads
Read 109 pages of Infinite Jest
2,226 pages read
7 books completed


BOOKS COMPLETED

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Physical copy, 1/5
TBR Jar pick for May

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Physical copy, 4/5
Reading challenge fulfilled: A book with a title that starts with "the"

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Physical copy, 4/5
Classic pick for May

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Physical copy, 5/5
Reading challenge fulfilled: A 2017 release

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Physical copy, 4/5
Diverse pick for May

A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Physical copy, 4/5
Reading challenge fulfilled: A book with an animal on the cover

Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McArter
Physical copy, 5/5
Non-fiction pick for May