Monday, July 31, 2017

#BookTubeAThon 2017 Wrap Up!

Hi everyone! If you don't follow me on any social media channels, you might not have realized that last week I participated in the biggest readathon of the year - the BookTubeAThon! I posted vlogs & Instagram challenge photos every single day last week, and in order to not totally spam my blog with posts (and to give myself one less place to post daily throughout the week), I decided it was best to put everything BookTubeAThon 2017 related right here in one big wrap up post! 

Below you will find a playlist of all of my BookTubeAThon 2017 videos including my TBR and my daily vlogs (which include the daily video challenges!), my daily Instagram challenge posts, and the ratings I gave each book I read throughout the week. I hope you enjoy reliving the craziness that was the 2017 BookTubeAThon, and if you participated, I hope you had just as much fun as I had! Can't wait for next year! :D


This playlist features my TBR, daily vlogs, and video challenges from each day! You'll also get my thoughts/mini-reviews on each one of the books that I complete during the readathon. Enjoy! :)


DAY 1: Complete the cover!

DAY 2: Your favorite classic!

DAY 3: Your current read in any reflection!

DAY 4: Cosplay a character from a book!

DAY 5: Your current read with food!

DAY 6: Your current read with an item that captures the mood!

DAY 7: Take a shelfie!


A book with a person on the cover: 
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, 3.5/5

A hyped book: 
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, 4/5

Read a book in one day: 
Lumberjanes, vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson, 5/5

A book with a character that is very different than you: 
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, 3/5

Read a book completely outside: 
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, 5/5

A book you got because of the cover: 
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, 3/5

Read 7 books: 
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: the Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Monday, July 24, 2017

Vlog: #24in48 Readathon July 2017

Over the weekend I half-participated in the #24in48 readathon. In this readathon, the objective is to attempt to read for 24 hours within a 48 hour period. While I wasn't ever intending to reach the 24 hour mark, I wanted to use this readathon as a motivator to get some of my half-read books completed before the start of #BookTubeAThon. I'm happy to say it worked wonderfully! I decided to do a tiny bit of vlogging over the weekend as well, so take a peak into what I read over the weekend below! :)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#ViewAThon TBW!


I've finally put together my TBW for the first round of ViewAThon (it took a while) and I'm thrilled to share it with you all. I'm just so curious to see how I'll like all of my picks and to see how this event will go! I am pumped to see everyone else's TBW lists and to chat with everyone throughout the week. I think it's going to be so much fun! If you want to find out more about ViewAThon, make sure you go check out my announcement video and the ViewAThon Twitter page. I would love it if you'd join! 

#ViewAThon TBW
    Catch up on a TV series that you’re in the middle of:
    Jane the Virgin

      Go see a film in the theatre:
      The Big Sick or The House

        Watch the latest episode of one of your favorite shows:
        The Challenge

          Start a TV series you’ve been meaning to get to:
          Santa Clarita Diet

            Watch a movie that it seems everyone has seen but you haven’t:

              Start a TV series that it seems everyone has seen but you haven’t:
              Stranger Things

                Watch a movie or TV series that has been released in 2017:

                  Rewatch a favorite movie:
                  Will be determined during ViewAThon :)

                    Watch a movie or TV series starring a character that identifies within a marginalized group:

                      Watch a movie or TV series created or directed by someone who identifies within a marginalized group:

                        Watch a movie or TV series with a title that begins with your first initial:

                          Watch a movie or TV series that is older than you:
                          Batman (1966)

                            Watch a movie or TV series from your childhood:
                            Pokemon: Indigo League

                              Watch a movie or TV series recommended to you:
                              Looking for recommendations! Let me know your recommendation in the comments!

                                Watch a movie or TV series that is out of your comfort zone:
                                Jessica Jones

                                  Watch a remake:
                                  Also would love to hear some recommendations for this one!

                                    Watch a movie or TV series that is set in the summer:
                                    Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later

                                      Watch an Emmy award winning or nominated television show:

                                        Watch an Oscar award winning or nominated movie:

                                          Buddy watch a movie or TV show:
                                          Game of Thrones

                                            Watch a Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime Video original series:
                                            GLOW or The Handmaid's Tale

                                              Watch a movie on the IMDB Top 100 List:
                                              To Kill a Mockingbird

                                                Watch a TV series or movie that is in Black & White:
                                                Young Frankenstein

                                                  Watch an animated TV series or movie:

                                                    Watch a documentary or docuseries:
                                                    Hot Girls Wanterd: Turned On or Last Chance U

                                                    Friday, July 21, 2017

                                                    Friday Reads! {7.21.17} #24in48 Readathon & Pre-BookTubeAThon

                                                    Happy Friday, everyone!

                                                    Today I shared a quick Friday Reads video over on my channel. I don't normally do these videos, but I had a few books that I'm in the middle of that I wanted to get finished before BookTubeAThon kicks off on Monday, so I thought I'd share what my goals for the weekend were! This weekend there's also a round of 24 in 48 going on this weekend (where you try to read for 24 hours over the course of 48 hours), which I thought was the perfect opportunity to try and focus on getting these books done! I'm really looking forward to a great weekend of reading and I hope that I'm able to accomplish my weekend reading goals! Here's what I'm planning to read this weekend:

                                                    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
                                                    The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
                                                    Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

                                                    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

                                                    Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

                                                    Last week my Booktube buddy Anita and I read When Dimple Me Rishi by Sandhya Menon, a YA contemporary romance novel that has been receiving A TON of hype on the bookish side of the internet. I had extremely high hopes for this book, as did Anita, and we were very excited to read this novel together. Unfortunately, this book really fell flat for the both of us and we both wound up feeling very disappointed. I wanted to talk in more detail about why it fell flat for me, because this book hasn't been getting a lot of criticism quite yet (SO MANY 5-star reviews for this book at the moment!) and I want folks out there to be able to make an informed decision about this book before rushing out to buy it.

                                                    ***While this review doesn't exactly contain spoilers, it does contain a few details of the story that are not in the book's synopsis. If you do not want to know those details before reading, I would say skip this review for now. Otherwise, proceed reading!***

                                                    When Dimple Met Rishi is about two Indian-American teens who have just graduated high school and are in the summer before heading off to college. Dimple is a fierce lady who is heading to Stanford in the fall and determined to find her way into the tech field and code apps for a living, despite her parents hoping she will find an "IIH" (ideal Indian husband) and take on the role of a wife and mother as soon as possible. Rishi, who is bound for MIT at the end of the summer and values his connection to his family and culture very much. Dimple and Rishi's parents have been friends for years and think it would be a great idea to arrange a marriage between the two teens (unbeknownst to Dimple). When Dimple heads off to a summer camp where she will have the opportunity to build her own app, she meets Rishi, who is there to propose, even though Dimple has no idea who he is. The story then takes off from there.

                                                    As I was saying at the beginning of this review, I was super excited to get into this story! The premise seemed lovely. An own voices peak into what it is like to grow up Indian-American in the United States, a plot line dedicated to arranged marriage (something I am very unfamiliar with), AND badass ladies pursuing the STEM fields? SIGN ME UP. However, even though the above premise was what was sold to me, it wasn't what I got out of this book. Yeah, those things are all mentioned in this book, but they are no where near the focus and I was VERY disappointed about that.

                                                    This book has a strong start. I loved the beginning scenes of learning more about Dimple and Rishi's families, of Dimple and Rishi meeting for the first time, and the first few scenes of Insomnia Con (the tech camp where the majority of the book took place). Dimple and Rishi had a really cute friendship blossoming at the beginning of their time at the camp, and I was loving reading about them getting to know one another. After about page 150, however, the book slowed waaaaaaay down which was a total bummer. The beginning of the book was on such a great pace to be a fun summer contemporary with a unique setting and focus for its characters, but it soon became boring and I felt myself searching for the spark we had at the beginning of the book to come back and grip my attention once again.

                                                    Once Dimple and Rishi got over their initial awkwardness that all YA contemporary romances go through, the book really fizzled for me. Their relationship quickly became boring to me and was extremely predictable for two teens in love. This very well could be the fact that I'm not in the YA age group and perhaps I've outgrown reading about intense, teen first-love stories, but it just seemed super predictable and boring in my eyes. Dimple and Rishi both kind of lost what was interesting about them as individuals (Dimple with her interest in tech, and Rishi his love of art) and while they discussed both of these things a great deal, us seeing them be involved in their supposed beloved activities rarely happened throughout the book. Menon did a LOT of telling, but not a lot of showing, which is a shame because they both would totally have been interesting activities to get more of!

                                                    Which brings me to my next point: this book is set at a tech camp. One of our main characters is allegedly super passionate about developing apps and pursuing a career in tech. We have an entire plot line set up of a contest of who can develop the best app where the winner received the opportunity to get their app funded and developed. Ummmm... WHY DO WE NEVER SEE ANY OF THAT?! This, I think, is the biggest missed opportunity of the entire novel. This plot line would have been sooooo interesting to read about. You don't ever see characters, especially FEMALE characters, pursuing STEM in YA literature. You're telling me you're going to set an entire novel at a tech camp with a strong young female lead who wants to pursue a tech career attending said camp and then not show us her kicking ass at what she loves to do? Really? 

                                                    Can you imagine how many young readers would see Dimple kicking ass in tech development and then want to go out and pursue STEM just like her? Do you understand how inspiring that would have been? I think this is definitely what annoyed me the most about this book. There was so much potential in that one plot line (it was the setting for the majority of the novel for crying out loud!) and Sandhya Menon did nothing with it. I am super disappointed in that, and I can only hope that some author out there will pick up where Menon dropped the ball. :/ :/ :/

                                                    I really think that Menon also missed out on a really cool friendship between Celia and Dimple. I think it would have been really awesome for Dimple to have a solid friendship outside of her relationship with Rishi, and it also would have been great for Rishi to have a buddy he could talk to throughout the book. There were many bumps in Dimple and Rishi's young relationship, and having some sort of confidant would have been so wonderful for each of them to have. Celia was right there for Dimple to have a good friendship with, but instead their relationship seemed really judgmental and bitchy most of the time, and ultimately felt really fake and tense. I really wish that their relationship was stronger.

                                                    There were a lot of pieces that really didn't need to be in this story and would have provided more opportunity for a stronger plot if it wasn't there. One example that sticks right out is the talent show. Yep, there was a freaking talent show plot line in this book when they were already supposed to be competing to develop the best app. Why couldn't Menon have just focused on the app competition instead? It would have been far more interesting AND far more relevant to the story she was trying to tell. The talent show plot line really bothered me and I felt it was a total waste of the 100 or so pages they it was being discussed. While I think it was cool that Dimple and Rishi did a Bollywood dance for their entry as it was a cool glimpse into their culture, the entire plot line of the talent show could have been cut and the book would have been perfectly fine (probably better, if I'm being honest).

                                                    Of course, this book wasn't all bad. I really loved the fact that we had two Indian-American main characters which gave us a wonderful insight into what it is like to grow up as a first-generation citizen in an immigrant family. I loved that they discussed Indian-American culture at length as well as the pressures they face from their families, the inner-conflicts they have regarding pleasing their parents vs. pursuing their dreams, and the challenges they face as PoC and children of immigrants in the United States. Discussion of other cultures, races, and experiences in YA are SO IMPORTANT and I will always support that. 

                                                    And, as I said, the book had a really promising start in terms of the relationship Dimple and Rishi were developing. The first third of this book was really fun and rom-com-y which I had such a fun time reading! I really wish that vibe has stuck through the entirety of the book and was evident throughout Dimpe and Rishi's relationship.

                                                    However, with the amount of potential that this novel had to be GREAT, it really fell flat. Menon had so much she could have worked off of to make this an extremely impactful novel on top of it being a love story. This was intended to be a contemporary romance and it definitely was, but there was so much more that could have happened to enhance the story, and I'm ultimately just frustrated that Menon didn't take advantage of the opportunities that were very clearly in front of her.

                                                    Overall, I'm going to give this book...
                                                    3/5 Stars.

                                                    I'm hoping that Menon's next novel (which releases in 2018) will be an improvement from this one. So many people seem to ADORE this book and I just am not seeing why, so maybe there is something I missed with this book that I might pick up from her next one.

                                                    Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? What did you think?
                                                    Let me know in the comments!

                                                    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

                                                    Goal-Oriented Reading | Pros, Cons, and Tips!

                                                    Today I'm discussing goal-oriented reading and my thoughts and tips on reading with goals in mind! I'm a super goal-oriented reader and I've noticed that there are quite a few people out there that goal-oriented reading tends to stress them out. I'm hoping that with what I talk about in this video, folks can see that goal-oriented reading doesn't have to be stressful and can actually be super helpful! Let me know in the comments of this post or the comments of the below video if you're more of a goal-oriented reader or more of a mood reader, and your thoughts on the things that I brought up in this video! :)

                                                    Thursday, July 13, 2017

                                                    Book Talk: Infinite Jest

                                                    Here it is y'all! 
                                                    My thoughts on my experience while reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. 

                                                    I decided I didn't want to do a full blown book review because I honestly feel like there is so much more I can get out of this book and so much more I learn from this work of literature. I didn't feel quite ready to boil it all down in a book review. So, I decided to do a video "book talk" instead, so you can hear about my thoughts from my first complete read through. It is my hope that over time I will have many discussions with others about this book and be able to sift through the many layers of this work and continue to learn through discussion! If you've read or are reading this book, I would love to hear your thoughts and have a conversation with you!

                                                    Click play on the above video to hear my thoughts on Infinite Jest and let me know in the comments of this post or this video what your thoughts are! I would love to chat with you! :)

                                                    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

                                                    Book Review: Born a Crime

                                                    I recently listened to Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah on audio and you guys.... I loved it so much. I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I was just in search of a fun celebrity memoir, narrated by the author, to listen to on my commutes and long runs throughout the week. Something easy to pass the time while I took on the more boring parts of my day. This book really blew me away and I'm so happy I decided to download this book this month. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this book with you all, so keep reading for a non-spoiler review!

                                                    While Born a Crime is a memoir and is written by a celebrity, this book is so different than what I was expecting. Most of the celebrity memoirs I've read follow somewhat the same formula. We learn a bit about the celebrity's childhood, their ~awkward teen years~, how they discovered their passion for whatever made them famous, and then we usually get a behind the scenes look at what their career is/was. It's usually pretty run-of-the-mill, and they're usually a delightful 3.5-4 star read for me. A little slice of what my favorite celebrities are like beyond what I see on the screen. This book wasn't like that at all.

                                                    Born a Crime is a memoir entirely about Noah's life growing up in South Africa. Noah was born during apartheid to a white, Swiss father and a black, South African mother. Interracial relations were extremely illegal during apartheid, making Noah's mere existence a crime. Noah talks extensively about what it was like growing up "colored" (the South African term for biracial people) in this time and relates many of his experience to things that were happening on a grander scale within his home country during his childhood and adolescence, before and after democracy was introduced.

                                                    The stories Noah tells about his family, his friends, his school life, and his young adulthood are extremely endearing. He invites you into his life in a way that feels extremely kind and genuine, aware that his audience for this book may not fully understand his experiences but makes it easy for them to go along with him on his journey. He gives you a full sense of not only who he is as a person, but also gives you a clear picture of what life was and is like living in South Africa. Noah never seems defensive of his upbringing, but rather shows his audience his roots in a way that makes you feel fortunate for being let in. He almost makes you feel a part of his life with his mother (he talks about his relationship with her extensively - it's clear he loves her and that she is a huge part of who he is!) which is such a wonderful gift when you're learning about someone's life.

                                                    As mentioned above, I listened to this book on audio, which was narrated by Noah himself. If you haven't listened to him talk, I highly recommend doing so. (He's the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, so it's fairly easy to experience!) He has a very distinct voice that is so perfect for telling his own story and it totally enhances the book as a whole. There are also parts of this audiobook where you can hear different sounds outside of the narrative - a shifting of the papers he is reading off of, a creak in his voice, the running together of words here and there. It just is a really lovely experience listening to this book and I would totally recommend trying the audiobook out if you have the opportunity.

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

                                                    It's very clear that I loved this book and enjoyed my experience of reading it. I loved it so much that I actually ordered a physical copy! There are a lot of sections of this book I would love to go back and highlight and tab, and I would also love to reread and revisit Trevor and his mother in South Africa again. Highly recommend this read if you're looking for a memoir. I loved it!

                                                    Have you read Born a Crime? What did you think?
                                                    Let me know in the comments!

                                                    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

                                                    #BookTubeAThon 2017 TBR!

                                                    It's BookTubeAThon tiiiiime! I am SO EXCITED to participate in BookTubeAThon this year! Literally the moment Ariel released the reading challenges I dropped EVERYTHING I was doing to make my TBR for the readathon (I was working from home and conveniently close to my bookshelf). I am SO PUMPED to get this readathon started and I am thrilled to share my TBR with you guys! 

                                                    I am going to try my best to upload daily blogs on my channel that will include the daily video challenge, as well as participate in the daily Instagram challenge each day. I really want to make my first #BookTubeAThon experience as fun as possible and I think the best way to do that is hop in with both feet! I'll post my wrap up of my experience here on the blog when the readathon is over, but make sure you're subscribed to my YouTube channel to see videos as they get uploaded and over on my Instagram to see my daily photo challenges! :)

                                                    Keep reading to see my TBR for the week, and let me know what you're planning on reading for the #BookTubeAThon down in the comments! I'm excited to read with you all! :D

                                                    A book with a person on the cover
                                                    Today will be Different by Maria Semple

                                                    A hyped book
                                                    Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

                                                    Finish a book in one day
                                                    Lumberjanes, vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson

                                                    Read about a character that is very different than you
                                                    Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

                                                    Finish a book completely outside
                                                    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

                                                    A book you got because of the cover
                                                    Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier

                                                    Read 7 books
                                                    Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: the Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

                                                    Monday, July 10, 2017

                                                    Book Review: Flawed

                                                    Last week I read Flawed by Cecelia Ahern. This is Ahern's YA debut. She is an extremely successful adult contemporary novelist, and with the premise of this book I had really high hopes for liking this story. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I had a lot of feelings about this book while reading it. I had to stop reading every few pages to jot down my thoughts! I knew I had to review this book when I was about 10 chapters in, which can sometimes be a good thing, but in this situation was not. So, without further adieu, here's what I thought about Flawed.

                                                    ***THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! Proceed at your own risk.***

                                                    Flawed is a young adult dystopian novel that is actually the start of a duology. It takes place in a world where there is an organization (referred to as "the Guild") that monitors the behavior of the people and if they act in any sort of "immoral" way, they are brought to a trial and usually found to be "Flawed". Once someone is found to be Flawed, they are branded and now have to live life by a different set of rules. The Flawed are seen as second-class citizens and are basically the scum of the earth. Our main character, Celestine North, is seen as the "perfect" young woman. She gets amazing grades, is a mathematician, and is even dating the leader of the Guild's son. We follow the story from her perspective.

                                                    ****SPOILERS AHEAD!!! It's pretty impossible for me to give you my full thoughts without spoiling major plot points, so if you do not want to be spoiled, stop reading here!***

                                                    Friday, July 7, 2017

                                                    Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! | 2017

                                                    Happy Friday, friends! Today over on the channel I'm doing the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! This is a tag that lets you reflect back on your reading for the first half of the year, pick out some favorites, and get excited for the second half of the reading year! This is a tag that flies around BookTube every year around June/July so I knew I had to hop in and share my answers with you all. Click play to hear what I talked about and if you're interested in doing this tag, keep reading to find the questions!

                                                    TAG QUESTIONS:

                                                    1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017. 
                                                    2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2017.
                                                    3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
                                                    4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
                                                    5. Biggest disappointment.
                                                    6. Biggest surprise.
                                                    7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
                                                    8. Newest fictional crush.
                                                    9. Newest favorite character.
                                                    10. Book that made you cry.
                                                    11. Book that made you happy.
                                                    12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year. 
                                                    13. Favorite review you've written this year.
                                                    14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year.
                                                    15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

                                                    Created by Read Like Wildfire & ElyJayne

                                                    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

                                                    2017 Goals Mid-Year Check In

                                                    Happy halfway through 2017, y'all! 

                                                    Tonight over on my channel I posted a little update video on my 2017 goals. I think I'm doing pretty well on all of my goals so far throughout the year and I hope to keep my momentum going through to December 31st. Fingers crossed! Click the video to see how I'm doing in my goals and keep reading for some links to other posts explaining my goals! :)

                                                    2017 Goals blog post
                                                    #Project 5 rules & details

                                                    Sunday, July 2, 2017

                                                    SSSBC June Vlog + Story Excerpt #1!

                                                    BLAHHHHHH WE'RE A MONTH INTO SSSBC AND THIS IS SO MUCH HARDER THAN I ANTICIPATED!!! I totally underestimated what it would be like jumping back into creative writing and while I'm having a great time and really enjoying my story and the way it is developing, it is soooo much harder to fall into this form of creativity and navigate my way around it. Over this past month I've learned two major things:

                                                    1. I really love writing dialogue.
                                                    2. I suck at prioritizing writing and making time for my story!

                                                    These two things are the theme throughout my June SSSBC vlog (especially the second one) and I am struggling for some advice on techniques to make things like writing a priority. If you have any advice you can share with me, please let me know either in the comments of this blog or in the comments of my writing vlog. Any and all advice is appreciated!

                                                    Anywho, here are two of the more exciting parts of this blog post: my writing vlog and my story excerpt. Yes, you read that right. I'm only providing you an excerpt of my story and not the whole thing. Why you ask? Well, as mentioned above, I've found returning to creative writing extremely challenging and I haven't been making time to write, so my money is on that this story isn't going to have a first draft until the end of the summer. I've decided to focus on writing this story throughout the entire summer and shoot to have a first draft (fingers crossed) by the time August is over. Will it happen? WHO KNOWS?! That's for future Riley to figure out.

                                                    Keep going for my June writing vlog and an excerpt from my story that I'm particularly fond of! :D

                                                    Saturday, July 1, 2017

                                                    July 2017 TBR!

                                                    Happy July everyone! We are officially halfway through the year! July is one of my favorite months of the year. I LOVE summer and July is the absolute peak of summer where I live. I'm looking forward to this month of reading a lot. I have three buddy reads I'm tackling, and the BooktubeAThon is at the end of the month! July is sure to be a great reading month and I'm feeling good about all of my picks. Keep reading and watch the video below to see what I will be reading for over the next few weeks! :D

                                                    When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon*
                                                    We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

                                                    Reading Challenge Picks

                                                    A book that features and LGBTQ+ character: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson^

                                                    2017 Goal Picks

                                                    Diverse: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
                                                    Classic: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
                                                    Non-Fiction: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
                                                    TBR Jar: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

                                                    *Buddy read with Anita
                                                    †Buddy read with Michael
                                                    ^Buddy read with Shannon