Apps I Use For Bookstagram / Blogtober Day 20

I used to be an avid Twitter user. I mean, I still am. But as of a few months ago, I’ve been really dedicated to making my Bookstagram look nice. I love coming up with new themes, taking pictures, writing captions, etc.

For today’s post, I wanted to share some of the apps that I use for Instagram. Maybe you’ll even find a new app to use!

VSCO:

Almost everyone is familiar with this app, but if you’re not, it’s basically a filtering app. They have tons of filters to choose from (plus you can buy more packs). I’ve been using this one for years now, and it is a classic for quickly making any picture look great!

Some of my favorite filters are…

  • 04
  • A6
  • C6
  • HB1
  • HB2
  • M5

Here are some before and afters using just VSCO:

Lightroom:

This is another app that many people know. It’s the mobile version of one of the photoshop applications. This one is great for creating your own filters, or “presets.” You can play around with the color of the picture, edit the lighting, and do much more. It’s basically the advanced version of VSCO- like taking off the training wheels. But once you get used to it, it’s super simple to use!

You can also buy pre-made presets online on sites like Etsy, and from some Instagram users. You can apply a specific set of edits onto each of your pictures. I’ve purchased a couple, and they are really nice! Just choose carefully because you want to make sure the presets you buy are going to work with the type of pictures you take. You don’t want to spend money on a preset you’ll never use (like I’ve done before).

Snapseed:

This is the final photo editing app I have on this list, but it’s one of my favorites. I usually edit my pictures on here first, and then I put it through either VSCO or lightroom. There are so many tools on this app, from editing the lighting in one specific area of the picture, to adding filters, and more. It is incredible and kind of a hidden gem. It’s not as well known as the first two.

UNUM:

On top of editing my pictures, I also plan out my feed. I don’t want too many flatlays in a row or two pictures of the same book. Unum lets you lay out your pictures, add a caption, and even post straight from their app. I usually write my captions straight onto Instagram, but this is a great feature if you want to plan out many pictures in advance. There are a ton of apps similar to this one, but this is my favorite.

Nichi:

The last app on this list is a story editing app. It has so many cute stickers and pictures you can add. I use this one pretty frequently when putting updates on my story. Again, there are tons of story editing apps, but this one has been my favorite.

let's chat

Those are all the apps I used most frequently. I am having so much fun playing around with the editing of my Instagram, and I hope you guys are liking my current feed! Again, if you want to follow me, click here.

What are some of your go-to apps? Do you use any of the ones I mentioned?

Jessica

I Should Have Read That Book Tag / Blogtober Day 19

Hello, I’m back with another tag today! I found this one over at Paperfury, and I really liked it. I wasn’t tagged, but I decided I would answer these questions for you anyways!

A BOOK THAT A CERTAIN FRIEND IS ALWAYS TELLING YOU TO READ

six of crows

I can’t even tell you how many times people have told me to read Six of Crows. I plan on it, I swear. Now that I’ve read the Grisha trilogy, I can finally read this one. I’m just waiting until I have time to read it- aka probably not until January. I have some other higher priority books right now, so once I am free of those commitments, I will tackle this one.

A BOOK THAT’S BEEN ON YOUR TBR FOREVER AND YET YOU STILL HAVEN’T PICKED IT UP

Beholding Bee

Choose any of 70+ books on my TBR. But seriously, I have a bad habit of buying books knowing that I won’t get to them for at least a month. Probably more than that. If I had to go with just one for this, it’ll be Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco. I bought this one with my first every purchase from BookOutlet, and let me just say- I went a little book crazy. I added a lot of books to my cart that I had never heard of, simply because they only cost a dollar or two. I have curbed my impulsive spending since then, but this book has not yet made its way off of my TBR and into my read pile. One day.

A BOOK IN A SERIES YOU’VE STARTED, BUT HAVEN’T GOTTEN ROUND TO FINISHING YET

gemina

I read Illuminae in like 2017, but I haven’t continued the series since then. I really, really enjoyed it, but I don’t own the rest of the series. That’s pretty much my only reason for not continuing. I don’t want to borrow the e-book or audiobook from my library because of the format of the book, and I’m away at school most of the year, so I can’t borrow the physical copy. Maybe one summer I’ll find time to get it from the library!

A CLASSIC YOU’VE ALWAYS LIKED THE SOUND OF, BUT NEVER ACTUALLY READ

I actually just wrote a post about some of the classics I want to read. I’m trying to get better at reading classics, but I don’t pick them up that often because they usually require more time to read. Even shorter classics take more time than regular books because of the style of the writing. I just prefer to read them slower to actually absorb the information!

A POPULAR BOOK THAT IT SEEMS EVERYONE BUT YOU HAS READ

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. This one just came out, but it seems like everyone has already read it. This is a thriller inspired by the book The Turn of the Screw. I honestly have no idea what either of them is about, but I’m okay with that. I just know that most people loved this one and think it’s Ruth Ware’s best book.

A BOOK THAT INSPIRED A FILM/TV ADAPTATION THAT YOU REALLY LOVE, BUT YOU JUST HAVEN’T READ IT YET

Carrie by Stephen King is the first one I thought of. I really enjoyed the movie, but I haven’t found time to pick up the book. I think I’ve been a little worried about picking up King again because I didn’t like “It.” I do think I will enjoy some of his other novels, though, and Carrie’s a shorter one, so it’s manageable. Again, this is not a high priority of mine, but I will hopefully read it eventually.

A BOOK YOU SEE ALL OVER INSTAGRAM BUT HAVEN’T PICKED UP YET

the devouring gray

The Devouring Gray. This book is beautiful, so it’s no surprise that everyone has been photographing it. I think I will absolutely love it, so I definitely want to read it eventually. I’ve been eyeing this one ever since it came out. I’ve been very bad at staying on top of new releases, though because of my long list of backlist titles to read.

let's chat

That is it for this tag! These are just a few of the many books that I should have read by now but haven’t. This was a lot of fun, so I tag everyone to do it if you want to!

Be sure to leave a comment telling me what books you haven’t read yet but really should have.

Jessica

Almost Home by Madisen Kuhn- Review / Blogtober Day 18

I was recently sent an ARC of Madisen Kuhn’s newest poetry collection, Almost Home. The book came out at the beginning of the month, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested in it!

I have read both of Madisen’s previous collections, so I was already familiar with her poetry, and I was very excited about this book.

In Almost Home, Madisen takes us on a journey through a home. At each location, we explore a different part of her life, and get to look deeper into her mind. This concept was so cool. I really loved the theme of a house; it was very unique.

almost home review

The writing itself was beautiful. Madisen knows exactly how to pull you in and keep you close. You feel like you are following her life through her eyes, like you have lived through It yourself.

I found myself relating to so many of the poems, even if the events she was describing are not ones I have gone through. The feelings they evoke are some we can all connect with. The imagery in each poem was beautiful. It made you feel like you were walking through a forest, strolling through a city, and laying in a field of grass, depending on the poem you were reading.

I honestly wish I could emulate her style in my own poetry because I love the way she can cause all of your senses to stir.

Her writing has also really improved since her first collection. You can see how much she’s grown as a writer and has found her voice.

Overall this was a pretty solid collection.

Rating: 4/5 stars

let's chat

If you’ve read this one, please feel free to share your thoughts with me! I would love to hear them :)

Jessica

Recent Reads #1 / Blogtober Day 17

Last month, I only successfully read 2 books. I was in a HUGE slump, and I hated it. But with school and other things taking priority, I couldn’t focus on reading. This month has already been so much different. I’ve read quite a few books already, so I thought I would talk about some of them today in an effort to keep my wrap-up at the end of the month a bit shorter :)

maroon daydreams

Maroon Daydreams by Cheyenne Raine:

This was a really enjoyable poetry collection! I always enjoy Cheyenne’s writing, and this collection definitely showed me why. It’s very relatable, so I could connect with many of the poems in it. I also really loved the pictures that came with this one, they were a nice touch!

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo:

I did a whole separate review post on this series as a whole, so make sure to check out that blog post to hear my thoughts! I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but this was a really fun series, and I’m so glad I got to mark it off my TBR.

Ratings: 3/5 stars, 5/5 stars

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz:

This is a kids classic book of scary stories that I’ve actually never read. I picked up the bind-up of the three books from this collection for a school club, but I was actually pleasantly surprised! This one was good, but not amazing. There were a couple of creepy stories, but they didn’t really get me. Obviously, they’re aimed at children, so that’s to be expected!

Rating: 3/5 stars

Even More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz:

This was my favorite out of the three. I tabbed the most stories that freaked me out in this one. I think the stories were more original and interesting than the previous book. It was a pleasant surprise.

Rating: 4/5 stars

More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz:

This one was good. Nothing too memorable. I enjoyed it, but I was hoping this last one would be the best. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. There were a couple of good stories in this one, but none that really stuck out to me.

frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

This is a classic that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. We all know the story of Frankenstein and his monster- or at least, we think we do. The original story is so much creepier, and it was actually quite sad, too. I listened to the audiobook which I think added to my enjoyment. I don’t know if I would have bothered to read it anytime soon had it not been for that.

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Guide to Netgalley / Blogtober Day 16

Image result for netgalley

Ah, Netgalley. Both a blessing and a curse. This site has been the cause of much of my excitement but has also been a factor in my stress. Today I thought I’d talk about my personal tips for Netgalley, and how to get the most out of it!

If you’re not familiar with it, Netgalley is a site where bloggers and book reviewers can request ARCs in exchange for an honest review of the book. It’s a simple way for people, both with large and small followings, to get their foot in the door for ARCs.

It’s how I first began reading ARCs. It took a while before I first got accepted. But don’t be discouraged! I hope the following tips will help you land some ARCs (maybe even your first)!

Keep your profile updated.

Your profile should always be up to date with the most important information about you. Include links to your social media sites, your blog/Youtube channel (if you don’t have one of those, it’s fine), and anywhere else you post about books (like Goodreads). Include the stats of all of those (how many followers you have, how many views you get, etc.). Also, include any other relevant info. This can be the genres you like to read, your location, etc.

Publishers want to be able to see as much information about you in as fast a time as possible so they can continue on with their job. Putting all of this basic info into your bio makes it easier for them to make a decision about whether to approve you for the ARC or not. If they don’t see that info right away, they probably won’t go looking for it on their own, and instead, they will just move on to someone else. Don’t give them a reason to say no before they even consider you.

Request from smaller publishers first.

When you are just starting out on Netgalley, you probably won’t get accepted by Simon and Schuster or Penguin Teen. Don’t be offended or upset by this. It makes sense from a business standpoint. Start with some smaller publishing houses to build up your profile first.

Another thing that publishers look at is your feedback ratio (I’ll explain this more in the next point). If you have never been approved for any books, they don’t know how good you are at reviewing books in a timely manner. But don’t worry- many smaller publishers still accept accounts with no feedback ratio, so start there!

netgalley

Eventually, you can work your way up to bigger publishers and may even be auto-approved by some (meaning you have unlimited access to all of the titles they post and don’t need to go through the waiting process).

But don’t request too many books.

Going back to the feedback ratio- the publishers can see how many books you’ve requested, how many you’ve been approved for, how many you were denied for, and how many you’ve reviewed. This all ties into your feedback ratio- this is the number of books you’ve been approved for to the number of books you’ve provided a review for (or feedback).

For example, if you’ve been approved for 4 books, but you only reviewed 2 of them, your feedback ratio will be 50%. If you’ve reviewed 3 of them, your ratio will be 75%. The higher your ratio, the better your chance of getting approved. Netgalley recommends a ratio of 80% or higher, but I’d say try to keep it above 70%.

That being said, don’t go crazy and request every single book on Netgalley. Chances are you’ll be accepted for a lot more than you thought you would, and you’ll be stuck with a really low ratio, and will most likely not be able to review all of the books before publication. This is also unfair to reviewers who would love the chance to review a certain book but were unable to because spaces filled up.

So, stick to only those you are truly interested in and know you will read soon! Trust me, it makes life so much easier. I know it’s tempting, and I’ve fallen into the requesting trap myself, but don’t make the same mistakes I did.

let's chat

I hope these tips were at least a little bit helpful! Let me know what other advice you have for Netgalley users as well! We can all learn from each other :)

Jessica

24 Hour Read-a-thon Recap / Blogtober Day 15

Hello everyone! I recently did a 24 hour read-a-thon in order to get the amount of books I had on my TBR under control. I was in the middle of like 5+ books, so I needed to lower that number and work through some! Here’s a look at how it went:

12 am:

  • I stayed up for about a half an hour to read “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” I read the first “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” book a couple days before! I have a bind up of all three books, so my goal was to finish the other two during the read-a-thon. I got about 40 pages in before I called it a night. I am not a night person at all.

8:30 am:

  • I went for a run in the morning, I showered, and made breakfast. During the run and the making of my food, I listened to the audiobook of Frankenstein! I thought this would be the perfect read for this read-a-thon because it’s only a 7 hour audiobook (3.5 hours at 2x speed), and it is a spooky classic! I’ve never read it before, so I thought why not now? I was able to get about 2 hours into it, and I was enjoying it a lot!

scary stories

11:00 am:

  • I finished reading “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” It only took about another half hour or 40 minutes or so. The book is only about 100 pages, so it was definitely a quick read. I enjoyed this one a lot, it was better than the first in my opinion. I gave it 4 stars.

5:00 pm:

  • Then, I went to a few stores with my mom and grandma because I needed to buy some things for school. It took up a few hours, so we didn’t get home until about 3pm. I ate some food, and then I started the final book in the bind up of Scary Stories- More Tales to Chill Your Bones. I finished this one in about an hour as well. My favorite of the three was definitely the second one, but they were all pretty good!

8:00 pm:

  • I had four hours left to listen to 5 hours of an audiobook (about 2.5 hours on 2x speed). I tried to listen to as much as I could, but I honestly wasn’t in the mood to finish the book that night. I listened on and off until about 10:30 pm, and called it a night.

Final Stats:

  • Finished two and a half books.
  • About 300 pages total (I wasn’t keeping track, especially with the audiobook)

let's chat

I am happy with the amount of reading I did. And I finished Frankenstein the next day! So I definitely did a significant amount of reading over the course of the weekend, which is all that I wanted to do!

I love doing read-a-thons like this because I don’t usually get to spend a lot of time reading each day. This helps me make it a priority :)

Jessica

Get To Know Ya Tag / Blogtober Day 14

Tag

Hello everyone! I am here with another tag today. This is one I saw on May’s blog, and it looked like a lot of fun. I wasn’t tagged, but wanted to do it anyway :)

1. Favorite book of all time

 

 

This is too hard to answer with just one book. Here are my top 4 (not in order)

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

2. Favorite book five years ago

 

 

Again, I can’t answer this with just one answer, so I have 2 books that I remember loving back in middle school.

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3. Favorite duology/trilogy/series

For this one I would have to go with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. This was my favorite series throughout high school, and it means so much to me.

4. The last book you read

It’s been a few days since I finished a book, but I think it was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley!

5. The last poetry book you read

This one was Maroon Daydreams by Cheyenne Raine. It was really well written and a pretty short read!

 

 

6. What book most influenced your life?

This is such a hard question. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was definitely a very important read that touched me in so many ways. I also want to mention Turtles All the Way Down and Every Last Word because those are two books I really saw myself represented in. This one is tough, I feel like there are so many.

7. A book that made you ugly cry

The Starless Sea actually made me cry a couple of times, I really love that book. I wouldn’t say “ugly cry,” though. A couple of tears just slipped. 

the lady rogue

8. A book that made you laugh

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett definitely made me laugh over some of the witty banter! Jenn Bennett’s books always make me both swoon and giggle. She gives her characters so much life and depth!

9. A character you’d like to be for the day

I would love to be Celia from The Night Circus. That entire world is so incredibly cool, and to be able to live in it would be incredible. Also, she has magic powers, and that would be so fun. There really aren’t a lot of worlds I’d actually want to go to or characters I’d want to be because they usually go on some crazy and super scary adventures that I would not do well in if I’m being honest. I’m not meant to be a YA protagonist. But Celia is someone I’d love to be.

10. A book so good you dreamt about it

I’ve definitely dreamed about going to Hogwarts when I was younger. I can’t remember ever dreaming about any other books though.

Emma in the Night

11. A book you DNFed

I DNFed Emma in the Night by Alice Walker for now. I want to pick it back up, but I wasn’t in the mood for it when I first picked it up. I also DNFed The Diviners, but again, I’m going to read it eventually, I just picked it up at a time where I couldn’t focus on a super complex narrative. I am actually very excited to read both of those, though! I don’t truly DNF (abandon completely) that many books. If I don’t want to read a book I know it from the first page most of the time, so I don’t even consider it started.

12. What book are you most excited to read?

I’m really excited to read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. From the people who’ve read ARCs, I heard it was really good. I feel like it will totally be up my alley, so I’m excited to pick it up as soon as I can! I’m also excited to read Poemsia by Lang Leav, which is her second novel! I enjoy her poetry but haven’t had a chance to pick up Sad Girls, her first novel, yet. This one is about…you guessed it! A poet. I probably won’t get to it for a while, but it’s on my TBR!

let's chat

I hope you enjoyed this post! I tag…

Kim / Jordan / Vinny / Melanie 

See you tomorrow!

Jessica

Currently Reading / Blogtober Day 13

Hello! Today is a chilly day, so I’m snuggled up in a warm blanket, I made myself some tea, and I’m about to start reading a book. Sundays are the perfect day for this type of activity.

I thought I would tell you all about what I’m reading and what my thoughts are so far. I’m really proud of myself because I’m actually sticking to a TBR for once. It’s incredible. I am currently in the middle of 4 (technically 5, but I put one on hold for now) books, and it’s stressing me out just a little bit, so I thought I would tell you what they are! Maybe this will get me to read them faster (hahahahaha please send help).

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin:

This is an e-ARC I got a little while ago, but I wasn’t able to read it before the publication date. I am now trying to buddy read it, but it’s been a bit difficult to get into. That being said, I’m still only a few pages in, so I can’t really give my thoughts on this one yet. The e-ARC is also formatted a bit awkwardly, so that’s putting me off from it, too. I’m hoping to pick it back up over the next few days and get a little deeper into it!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert:

This is another e-ARC, but luckily I’m enjoying this one a lot more! I think it has actually helped me get out of a slump I was in for a few days. I’m almost done with this one now, so I think it’ll be around 4 stars for me! It’s a cute romance and it’s a quick read. I might even finish it by tonight if I have some time. It comes out next month, so I recommend checking it out if you like romances!

 

Disconnected, Volume 2 edited by Michelle Halket:

This is an anthology of poetry and short stories by a ton of different poets that I love! Basically, one person writes a poem, and another writes a story inspired by the poem, and so on! I love the concept so much. I have only read a couple of the stories so far, but I’m loving them! This book is already out, so make sure to pick up a copy if you’re interested!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand:

I also have an ARC of this one (oops I didn’t realize these were all ARCs), but I’m actually listening to the audiobook of it. The physical copy was a bit intimidating, and it just happened that I got the audiobook from my library a few days ago. I really love the story! I’m so glad that I finally decided to pick it up, and I will most likely be continuing on with the series at some point!

let's chat

Those are all of the books I’m currently reading! I’ve had a pretty good reading month so far, especially compared to last month’s. Let me know what you think of these books if you’ve read them.

Bye!

Jessica

Books I Meant to Read Last Year / Blogtober Day 12

Hello! Today I am doing another post inspired by The Library Looter’s Blogtober list. I am going to share three books I meant to read last year with you guys, and they are all ones I still haven’t read.

I know, I’m disappointed in myself, too.

I actually have a post up about the books I want to read before this year ends, but I made one of those last year as well. These are 3 that were on that list:

 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I initially planned on reading this at the end of last year, near the Halloween season. That didn’t happen. I tried to start the audiobook this year, but I felt like I needed the physical, so I stopped. I will read this eventually. I swear. It’s just a longer book, so I don’t have the motivation to start it. BUT, there are a bunch of read-a-thons happening for this book very soon, and I may possibly join one!

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This book I will probably get to either this year or early next year. I really feel like I’m going to like it, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. The goal is to read it in November if I can, but who knows what will happen. I need to get through my October TBR first!

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

I’ve talked about wanting to read this one (and the second book) so many times. I’m actually embarrassed that I haven’t read it yet because of how I often I said I was going to. But I just haven’t been in the mood for it, even though I’m really interested in it. I will get to it eventually, definitely at some point in 2020, and I want you all to hold me accountable for that.

let's chat

What books did you mean to read last year and still not get to? I feel like I could make this list incredibly long because I am so bad at getting to the books on my TBR.

Jessica

Favorite Horror Films / Blogtober Day 11

Recommendation

When I was little, horror movies used to absolutely terrify me. I would get nightmares from even the smallest parts of the film, but I would still watch them anyways. I loved the thrill and feeling of being scared.

As an adult, I still watch horror movies whenever I can, but they don’t really have the same effect on me. I still love them, though and I enjoy reading mystery/thriller novels, though. I wanted to share some of my favorite horror movies with you guys for today’s post so that you can stock up for the week of Halloween!

*Also, I’m not a film critic in any way, so this is just my opinion. Don’t take it too seriously.

Image result for insidious

Insidious:

If I’m being honest, this is probably one of the only horror movies that still scares me. I just remember it having a lot of jump scares and creepy, realistic scenes. I watched every single movie from this series with my childhood best friend. We actually had movie nights almost every Friday, and this was one of our favorites.

The Ring:

This is a classic. I loved it so much when I watched it  for the first time, and I still really, really like it. I actually bought a DVD of this movie when I was like 12 at a festival I went to with my family, and since then, I have re-watched it numerous times. It is so well done, and it’ll definitely give you goosebumps.

Image result for the ring

Mama:

I have only watched this one once. I honestly don’t remember much from it. But I watched it when I was on vacation in Poland when I was around 11 years old, and I remember it scaring the living daylights out of me. I couldn’t sleep for the next two nights. I don’t know if my opinion on it would have changed now, but I’m still keeping it on here.

 

The Silence of the Lambs:

This is another classic. I watched it just a few year ago for the first time, and I thought it was amazing. I’m planning on re-watching it very soon, too, because it is perfect for the Halloween season.

Image result for a quiet place

A Quiet Place:

This one was GOOD. I feel like I haven’t watched many recent horror films, but this is one that I was able to see. Watching it on the big screen definitely enhanced my enjoyment as well. It was super atmospheric and spooky.

Image result for devil movie

Devil:

This is one I watched so, so long ago. I just remember it scaring me a lot. It’s about a group of people stuck in an elevator, and one of them is the devil. It’s such a cool concept. Highly recommend it.

 

 

let's chat

Do you like horror movies? If so, what are some of your favorites? I need recommendations for some more recent ones because I’ve been very bad at keeping up with them!

Jessica