Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekly Reads: The Perfect Neighbors

I was really drawn to The Perfect Neighbors because we just moved to our first house this spring, and I thought it might be a fitting read. Plus I love anything that Sarah Pekkanen writes. Her books are always on the lighter side, but with a fun mystery lurking under the surface. This is a great one to pick up and read this summer.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Perfect Neighbors takes us into the homes of an idyllic suburban neighborhood where we discover the burning secrets hiding just below the surface.

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US.

It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs. She’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour. And she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Milwaukee Marathon Race Plan

This spring I had a tiny moment of crazy in which I decided I was enjoying running enough that maybe I should run a fall marathon. Now if you were in my brain during the last marathon I did, you may recall that "never under any circumstances should I ever do this, ever again, unless I'm crazy fast, because this 5 hour marathon business suckkkkkks."

I was bopping around on marathon guide searching for midwest marathons in October and November, thinking that if maybe I found one late enough, I could be convinced to do it. I considered the Mankato Marathon, as I typically do, and it was a large front runner until I stumbled on to the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee in October. I quickly realized I could probably have a fun weekend with Renee and my other favorite Wisconsin chicks, when I discovered that there's a marathon in Milwaukee in NOVEMBER.  Yes yes yes, where do I sign.

So this November 6th, I'll be running my 8th marathon in Milwaukee and then eating cheese curds and drinking delicious local beers post race while watching the Packers play with my favorite cheeseheads. BEST RACE WEEKEND EVER, right??

I'm planning a non-traditional race plan for the marathon to see how my body holds up. I'm running the Sioux Falls half in September, so I'm working to have decent base mileage with a weekly speed session. Once the half is done, I'll have a short training cycle for Milwaukee. I did a similar plan for the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011, and it was one of my best marathons. I'm planning to get in two 16s, an 18, and a 20 before I taper.

Fingers crossed I can get to the starting line healthy and ready to go!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Coming Out of Blog Retirement

**wipes months of dust off of my Macbook's keyboard**


It's been awhile. I've written a million blog posts on my head, but never got around to actually typing any of them. Shortly after Kyle and I got married, we found out that both of my parents had cancer. Whoa. Life, you're being a bitch right now. To say that my life was turned upside down and thrown against a wall would be an understatement. In the last 9 1/2 months they've both gone from very, very sick, to okay, and back and forth a few more times. Exhausting. Especially when you're a fixer and you can't do anything to fix it.

I finally started running again back in March, shortly after my mom's last stay in the hospital when I realized I wasn't taking the best care of myself. Apparently working out and eating healthy is a lot better option for you than just eating your feelings, who would've thought? (It's not as delicious of an option, to be clear.)

Somewhere in that time frame I have fallen back in love with running a little bit, in large part thanks to the running groups that I belong to. When I first started running again sometimes it was only the Wednesday night group runs at 605 Running Co. There are several weeks where I had 2.5-3 miles for my weekly mileage and they were there.

And then this spring I started joining some Sioux Falls Area Running Club folks for a weekly Thursday night trail run. LOVE. It's so beautiful out there you don't realize that you're running 12 minute miles to avoid breaking your neck/ankle/leg and fast hiking UP the hills because you have nothing like that anywhere else in town.

I've also met so many awesome runner friends through Sioux Falls Women Run. Including some that live in my new town! (oh did I mention? Kyle and I bought a house! We live in the 'burbs now.) There's always someone inviting people on their runs, and meetups all over town to help us get our miles in.

I'm so grateful to my new found running family because the therapy I get from running really helps me be a better member of my real family, and the struggles that we're working through.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Weekly Reads: You Know Me Well

I love David Levithan. I love Nina LaCour. You Know Me Well is their novelistic love child. Spoiler alert: I LOVED IT. Every teen should read it. Every adult should read it. Twice. It made me miss being a teen trying to figure out life, and then immediately be thankful that I'm no longer a teen trying to figure out life (I'm now an adult trying to figure out life, thankyouverymuch). So good.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekly Reads: Every Exquisite Thing

Every time Matthew Quick comes out with a new book, I have to read it. They're always a little dark, and Every Exquisite Thing is no exception. I wouldn't be able to give this bok to just any teen in my library, but that's not a bad thing. This book made me uncomfortable like only Andrew Smith's YA books usually can.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper--a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic--the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Weekly Reads: Not If I See You First

Not If I See You First is the first book I've read by Eric Lindstrom. I'm 100% over the teens dying books, so I was happy to see that this wasn't one. Parker is blind, but she's also a kick ass strong chick, which I love. And the book doesn't go a typical route in the storytelling, which is refreshing.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Weekly Reads: Highly Illogical Behavior

I received an e-ARC of John Corey Whaley's newest novel,  to read and promote at my library if I enjoyed it. I get excited every time he has a new book, Highly Illogical Behavior, and this one was no different. Despite the story being something I've never experienced before, or subject matter I haven't read about, the teen problems that the characters faced on top of those issues were so realistic and true to teens these days. It was amazing and had me in tears. I would highly recommend this to readers who loved The Fault in Our Stars but are now over the "dying teen" trope.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.