Hello, loves! Today’s post was supposed to be something entirely different- it was supposed to be a discussion post, but that will be up either later this week, or next week! Then, I was going… More
Hello, loves! Jess here. Notice anything new? I recently changed my site name, as well as my Instagram and Twitter handles! I wanted to “rebrand” in a way because my old name just didn’t encompass what this site is. I wanted a name that fits this blog and me! Kisses From Jess is now in the past :)
What does this change mean? Basically nothing.
Like I said, I mainly just wanted a name that fits what this blog is- and that’s what Jessica C Writes does. I write. About books, writing, journaling, and a couple other things. As far as content, the type of things I post will stay the same, but I am going to be putting a lot of effort into those posts. I want each and every post to be something I am proud of. So that is going to be my aim for this coming year (oh- and expect more book reviews).
Let’s move onto what you clicked for- which is a discussion post about how my reading tastes have changed, but more specifically how it has changed my ratings!
I wrote a post about how I read both critically and for fun a few months ago, but my opinions have definitely changed on that subject since then.
I realized that (especially in the last few months) my reading tastes have been changing dramatically. What I used to read were mainly YA contemporaries- very fluffy ones. I had the occasional thriller or fantasy or adult book thrown in there, but I basically just stuck to one genre that I knew I loved. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But the truth is, I didn’t really know what I liked in books and what I didn’t because I was only reading one type of book. Within the past few months, I wanted to change this. I wanted to pick up different books so that I could figure out what I like.
I now pick up books that are very different from what I was reading just a couple years back. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly become a huge high fantasy or science fiction reader, but I stray outside of the YA contemporary romance books. I read mysteries and thrillers, and lots of NA and Adult books! I also add a lot more fantasy novels to my TBRs than I have in the past!
Overall, I have definitely broadened my horizons when it comes to reading, and I am so happy about that!
How has this affected my reviews?
Because I now know what I like to see in books- in terms of themes, genres, character development, etc., I read more critically. I am very picky about what I like and what I don’t like, so I don’t give everything 4 or 5 stars anymore as I previously had for no reason whatsoever. I basically just gave everything 5 stars as long as I somewhat enjoyed it.
With that in mind, I am also pickier about what I read to begin with- I don’t add books to my TBR just because they are extremely hyped by the book community. I only add books that I have a genuine interest in reading now. So even though I said I give less 4/5 stars, that doesn’t mean the book is necessarily bad. It still had something in it that drew me to it, it just isn’t one of my all time favorites.
Mainly, I am just pickier about what I choose as my favorite books opposed to just good books.
For example- a rating between 4-5 means a book is amazing and I really, really love it. It has definitely earned a spot in my top favorites.
However, a book with 3-4 stars does not mean the book is bad- there was just certain elements that fell flat for me, or I was a little disappointed by it. For example, I might not have liked the writing style, but loved the story. Or the pacing was slow but I loved the characters, etc. This is still a book I enjoyed though!
I think most people see a 3 star rating and assume a book is bad, when that is not the case for me at all. It all definitely depends on each reviewer and how they rate their books, but I think in general a 3 star rating is not equal to a book being awful.
I rarely give 1-2 stars, but those are the books that I consider “bad.”
By experimenting with my reading tastes, I have definitely turned into a much more critical reader. Reading critically is something I really enjoy, and I’ve always been this way with books for school, so I don’t know why it has taken me this long to be this way with other books.
This post is getting pretty long, so I’ll end it there!
Have your reading tastes changed at all? How/Why? This is a topic I could go on about for days, and it’s super interesting to hear other people talk about! Definitely leave a comment letting me know your opinions on this down below :)
See you soon!
Hello everyone! Hope your January is going well so far. I can’t believe it’s almost over already!
Today I want to talk about books about writing that I want to read! I haven’t mentioned this here yet, but I am actually starting a new WIP! I am so so excited about it, and I will give more details about it soon. But for now, I want to give you a list of some books I want to read that are about writing. As a writer, I think it is so important to learn about the craft, and what better way to learn than from the experts??
These are all books that I have NOT yet read, but I’ve heard amazing things about them. I won’t describe them in too much detail since I haven’t actually read them, but also because there are a lot on this list! I hope you find at least one to add to your TBR :)
On Writing by Stephen King
This is one that’s a staple to all writers. I have heard nothing by good things about this one, and I am actually in the process of reading it right now. It is funny and entertaining, but sprinkles writing tips all throughout. Stephen King is a legend in the writing world, so learning from him is huge to me.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
This is another that I’ve heard such amazing things about. I want to read it ASAP! I will probably get it from my library right after I finish the previous one. From what I’ve heard, this book discusses so many different aspects of writing- not only does she give advice and tips on writing itself, but also on being a writer and what it is like.
A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
This is basically all of Virginia Woolf’s thoughts about writing put into one book- why wouldn’t you want to read this? Woolf is such an important and prominent writer, and her works are said to be art. I have only read one of her books, Mrs. Dalloway, and loved it! I definitely want to read more by her in the future, and eventually get my hands on this diary!
Why I Write by George Orwell
This is another diary-like book by a famous author. You may know him for 1984 and Animal Farm. His books were pretty revolutionary for how they described the future, and I would definitely love to read his reasons for writing. I am sure that this one will be amazing.
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
I heard this recommended by Kat from Katytastic on Youtube, and she absolutely loves this. This is a book about screenwriting, but the methods can be used for novel writing as well. After I heard Kat talk about it, I was sold. She said it definitely helped her with her writing and outlining, so I need it!
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
I saw this book recommended in a Pinterest post, and I added it to my TBR immediately. As a writer, I believe it is VITAL to read as much as possible. But knowing how to read like a writer is something even more valuable. I think this book will definitely teach me a lot, so I want to pick it up in the very near future.
Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer
I remember seeing someone tweet about finding this book at a used bookstore, and I was intrigued by it. Naturally, I looked it up. It is an illustrated book that looks so beautiful. Among the pictures, there are tons of tips for writing, and it just seems so interesting. It’s pretty different from the rest of them, but it’s still something I want to read.
Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder
These next two are about poetry actually, and not novel writing. BUT, this is something that I am also very passionate about. I heard about this one from Ariel Bissett, another Youtuber, and I trust all of her recommendations. This one isn’t necessarily teaching the craft, but it talks about why people read poetry and also poetry in a modern age. It definitely piqued my interest.
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver was a beloved and very famous poet, who unfortunately passed away a few days ago. She was a huge inspiration to so many people, and I definitely want to read her handbook. This is a quick book that I think will be very useful. If I can write even 1/8 as good as she does, I would be happy.
That is all for this post! If you have any recommendations for books about writing, please leave them down below :)
* this post is in promotion with Clever Fox planners, but all opinions are my own *
Hello everyone ! If you saw my last post, you would know that I have started using the Clever Fox Planner this month, and I am really loving it! Today I wanted to make a post about how I am using my planners, not just that one, for 2019. I have a system that will probably change as time goes on, but for now it is something that works for me!
Planner 1: School
The first planner that I am using is my Clever Fox planner, which I decided I would use for school! I was originally going to use this one for my creative projects, but because it is a lot bigger than my other planner, it will fit all of my assignments better. Plus, it is undated, so after this semester is over and I am off for four months, those pages aren’t being wasted because I can use them for the next year.
The picture that I have is of my January spread which actually has all of my creative projects on it, but that will be changing starting next month. Instead, I will assign a color to each class I am taking, and will include all of my assignments for that month.
The weekly spread is where I will write down all of my day to day homework assignments, as well as my work schedule and other meetings or plans with friends.
Planner 2: Creative Projects
As for my creative projects, I will be using this Ban.do 2019 planner. I am obsessed with the look of this one, and it is something that I wanted to purchase for myself for a few years now. They no longer sell the design that I have, but I linked the same planner with a different pattern.
It is smaller than the other planner, which I like because I can carry it in my bag with me.
I will be using this one for scheduling blog post and videos, as well as days to take bookstagram pictures, write poetry, work on my draft of my novel, etc. It will be solely dedicated to planning out my creative projects, because those are something that I am taking more seriously this year.
The monthly spread will once again be color-coordinated for each project, and the weekly spreads will have my day to day to-do lists.
Journal: Goal Tracking
Finally, I will be using an art/junk journal that I have to track my habits and my goals each month. I might eventually switch over to just doing this in the Clever Fox planner because it does give you space to do so. For now, though, I like the way I have mine organized.
That is all for how I will be staying organized this year! If you have any questions about the system, please leave them in the comments :) See you next week!
Hello loves! Today I have an exciting post- I collabed with Clever Fox to unbox one of their planners for you guys! I got the Pro planner in the color blue, and I am LOVING it.
I have been looking for a bigger sized planner to use for my creative projects for a while, so I was really excited to get my hands on this one. I love that it has three bookmarks so that you can easily find different pages that you are looking for, and I love the stickers it came with. I will definitely be using those a lot.
I also love the front pages where you can create a vision board and outline your goals. It is definitely something that I really like because, again, I am using this mainly for my creative projects. Those pages will be great to track progress and stay on top of my goals.
There is so much room to write everything down, and overall I really love it.
The one thing that I wish was different is that I don’t like how the monthly spreads are all together at the front, and the weekly spreads are in the back. I wish that those alternated so that you can see the monthly spread right before the weekly ones. However, because it does come with the bookmarks, this is something I could get used to easily.
I would definitely recommend giving this one a try if you are looking for a new planner this year. They have a variety of sizes and styles to choose from, so I’m sure there will be one for you!
If you want to purchase one yourself, I have 3 10% discount codes, so just leave a comment with your Instagram username and I will message it to you :)
For 2019, I made a schedule for my posts, so they will be up once a week on Tuesdays, so be sure to stop by next week!
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! This is my first post after Blogmas, and I’m feeling great. I’m inspired and I have so much to share this year. I can’t wait to see where I go.
Today’s post is a simple wrap-up because December was actually a pretty good reading month for me up until the end. I read a total of 9 books, which ended my year with 65 books read. I didn’t beat last year, but I’m okay with that. My goal for 2019 is 52 books! Hopefully I can get more than that :)
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Oof. Where do I even start? I wanted to like this book, and I tried. I really did. But the characters were just so unlikeable and I honestly didn’t care for the plot at all. I had high expectations for it, too. But I just couldn’t get myself into it.
Rating: 2/5 stars
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
This is a memoire by Hillary Clinton talking about what happened in her campaign and sort of what went wrong. I really enjoyed this audiobook and I found the story so interesting. I am very interested in politics, so this story was very important to me. I highly recommend it if you want to know more about the 2016 election.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell
This is a poetry collection that I wasn’t entirely sold on. The poems just didn’t connect with me all that much, and I felt like they were too simple. They didn’t have that rawness and depth that I look for in poetry.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Yesterday I Was the Moon by Noor Unnahar
Luckily, after that last one, I picked up a collection I actually enjoyed. These poems were so powerful and important. I felt the emotions behind each one, and I was able to be empathetic and connect to them, even if they didn’t relate to me personally. I loved it.
Rating: 4/5 stars
What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl
This collection was just breathtaking. I bought this because I was attending a reading for Caitlyn and Amanda Lovelace (author of The Princess Saves Herself in This One). I fell in love from the moment I heard Caitlyn read a poem. She was amazing. I really, really recommend this one.
Rating: 5/5 stars
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is a book I read for one of my classes last semester, so I don’t want to judge it. I read it solely from an analytical point of view.
Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert
I’m starting to get into the romance genre and so I decided to pick this one up because the ebook was free. I am so glad I did. It was a quick read but filled with a lot of cute moments. I really enjoyed it.
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I heard a lot of good things about this one, but again, I just didn’t like it. The love story was just so cringe worthy and unrealistic to me. It’s a big “insta-love” and I hated it. That’s probably my least favorite trope ever. I loved Natasha’s story a lot, and I would have preferred just reading about her, and not the love story.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
This is another book that I wanted to love so so bad. I have been putting it off for so so long because I was scared I wouldn’t like it, and unfortunately my fears were right. I just didn’t connect with it and I honestly don’t really remember the plot at all and I read it so recently. Nothing stood out from it to me.
Rating: 2/5 stars
As you can see, my reading was sort of all over the place this month. Lot’s of ups and downs. Let me know what you thought of these books if you’ve read them, or what you read this month!
Merry Christmas y’all! I know Blogmas technically ended yesterday, but I wanted to add an extra day to thank everyone who has either been very inspirational to me, been a great friend, or just someone I love to read! I am going to be sharing some of my favorite bloggers for you guys to check out because they deserve the world!
Thank you all for everything. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of your love and support. This community means so much to me, and I just want to give back by shouting out some of my faves!
Merry Christmas again, and see you in the new year !
Tag your favorite blogs down below! Let’s spread the joy :)
It’s already day 24 of Blogmas! Merry Christmas Eve :)
I just wrote this post recently, but I have so many more book covers that I want to talk about, so here is part two!
This cover is just so pretty to me because it’s simple and clean, but different. There’s just something about it that always catches my eye, even if I don’t necessarily think I’ll like the book. It was just done really well.
I think everyone agrees that this is a nice book cover. The gold compliments the flowers so nicely, and makes it pop. I am usually fan of simple covers, but I love how this one looks a lot.
The reason that I love this one so much is because I didn’t even notice that the “mountain” in the back is a face. It’s just so subtle and nice. I’m obsessed with it.
This cover. I don’t even know where to begin. It is gorgeous. Jellyfish are my favorite sea creatures, so this definitely caught my eye from the beginning. Also, the background is so nice and I love the font of the title.
This has been one of my favorite book covers ever for a long time because it’s just so aesthetically pleasing. If I wrote a book, this is the type of cover I would want. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much. The cover makes up for it a little bit.
Once again, Merry Christmas Eve! I’ll see you guys for the last day of Blogmas tomorrow! Enjoy the holidays :)
As some of you know, if you read my last TBR post, I just did a 24 hour read-a-thon with two amazing people! It was a lot of fun, and I definitely want to do more in the future :)
Let’s talk about how I did!
What I read:
I had about half of Emergency Contact left (200 pages or so), and I managed to finish it at around 11:30 at night. I kept alternating between listening to The Sun is Also a Star and reading Emergency Contact. Luckily, the The Sun audiobook was short, and since I listen at 2.5 speed, it took me less than 4 hours.
I finished it at about 7:30. It took me a long time to finish both because I took a lot of breaks and went out a couple of times throughout the day, but at least I managed to read 2 of them!
I started Dumplin’, but only got about 3 chapters in!
I’m definitely still counting this as a win because I managed to finish 2 books. I’m definitely happy with that.
I also had so much fun!
This was a lot of fun, as I’ve mentioned! If you want to see more 24 hour read-a-thon posts, let me know! Or if you want to participate the next time I do one, definitely let me know, and I can make sure I announce it first :)
Yesterday I accidentally titled my blog post Day 22 because I obviously can’t count, but I fixed that, and today is the true Day 22!
Today’s post is an exciting one- I am finally going to be sharing my top 10 favorite books of the year! I read 65 books this year, and I am currently in the middle of 2 others (but I don’t think they will make this list).
Out of those books, I found some of my absolute favorites, and I am so so excited to share them with you all! I put them in an order, but take it with a grain of salt. It was so hard to even narrow down my list, let alone rank these 10. I changed the order so many times because I was indecisive, so just remember that!
10. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I know that this is a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I loved this book. It was hard to get into at first, but I was hooked completely by the middle. It just gave me such a nostalgic feeling because this is a book that middle school me would have obsessed over. I can’t even really describe why I loved it so much, I just did.
9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I’m going to be honest, I really didn’t think I would like this one, but I had the audiobook and decided I should just give it a chance. I ended up really liking it. It was such a beautiful, beautiful book. It made me really emotional, and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up.
8. To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace
This probably became my favorite poetry collection ever. It was so, so good. Amanda never fails to make me fall in love with her writing, but this one especially just spoke to me so much. I absolutely loved it, and I think everyone should give it a try.
7. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
After reading Simon, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. I loved the Simon movie, but the book fell flat to me in so many ways. It was just so hyped, so I expected a lot more from it. But this one was amazing. I loved and related to the characters so so much, and I really enjoyed the story. It was definitely a surprise for me.
6. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
I love Jenn Bennett so so much, and 2018 is actually the year I discovered her books. This is one that doesn’t come out until 2019, but I was lucky enough to get an ARC and I am so grateful. The way she writes romance is unlike anyone else. She makes you fall in love with the characters and I was mesmerized by this one.
5. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
This book melted my heart. I have been dying to read anything by Alice Oseman for so long, and this did not disappoint. It was so relatable and I love reading about podcasts, so this one was such a hit for me. The story was a bit sad at times, but it made you FEEL something, which I love.
4. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is the first year that I got into thriller/mysteries. I’ve always read a couple here and there, but I definitely read way more this year. This one was by far my favorite. I listened to the audiobook and it just had me so hooked. I could not get enough of it, and I highly recommend it if you like this genre.
3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
This is a story told through poetry, and I absolutely loved it. It was just such an incredible story, and I love poetry, so the two put together was just so amazing. I also just related to it so much (not as much now, but definitely a few years ago). I just saw myself in the story, and it made me so happy.
2. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Wow, would you look at that? Another Jenn Bennett. At the beginning of 2018, I couldn’t decide if I liked this one more, or Starry Eyes (also by Jenn Bennett). But the more I thought about it, the more this one was on my mind. Alex is my favorite YA love interest ever. He was just so smooth and knows how to make you fall for him. I was obsessed (and still am, let’s be honest). Wow, I just really loved this one.
1. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I don’t even know what else to say about this one. It just spoke to me on so many levels, and I couldn’t get enough. I posted a review on it, so I’ll just direct you there because it sums up my feelings pretty well.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic
If there are any on this list that you haven’t read, I highly recommend picking them up! I love all of these wholeheartedly, and 2018 was an incredible reading year for me. Please check these out :)
I have an exciting announcement! This January, I will be a host for the Mental Health Book Bingo with a group of lovely people! I can not wait, and I am so honored to be a part.
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a bingo board that has a prompt on each box, and the goal is to read 5 books during the month of January (to make a line- diagonally, vertically, horizontally, etc). They each feature representation of different mental illnesses, or are related to it.
Make sure to follow the twitter to keep up with updates and participate in various chats and sprints with us! Also, use the hashtag #mhbb to post your own updates!
The rest of the hosts are:
Wendy // whatthelogsaid
Inge // ingeswonderland
Laura // bbliophile
Lili // UtopiaMind
Ayah Assem // DystopianCitzn
Sar // readtorecover
I am going to be a bit of a rebel when it comes to my TBR. I actually won’t be following the typical bingo line because 2019 is a no-buy year for me, so I had to choose books that I own or have accessible to me- this means whatever I can get on the Libby app or from kindle.
Also, I chose more than 5 books because I’m a mood reader, and need some options!
However, I do plan on reading 5-6 books, so I will still be doing my part :)
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (Depression Rep)
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (YA w/ MI)
When We Collided by Emery Lord (Free space)
Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (PTSD rep)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (2018 Release)
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman* (Anxiety Rep)
Group Read- Not Chosen Yet
I really encourage all of you to participate, even if you only read one book! It’s so important to read about all types of diversity, and this is a fun way to do it. Also, make sure to stay up to date by following the Twitter, where a lot of fun things will be happening :)