The Switch by Beth O’Leary Review

I think I may have found a new favorite book of 2020…

I was approved for an ARC of The Switch by Beth O’Leary on Netgalley a few weeks ago, and I sort of requested it on a whim. Netgalley has just recently added audiobooks to its website, and I wanted to know how it would work. I saw that this one was available, so I got it.

I am so glad that I did.

Beth O’Leary is the author of The Flatshare, which you may have heard of. EVERYONE was gushing about it last year, though I still haven’t read it. Now, I definitely will.

Anyway, let’s talk about The Switch!

Goodreads Synopsis:

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

My Review:

The first word that pops into my head when I think of this book is “fun.” It was just such an enjoyable experience. I loved the way this story was told: alternating points of view from our 20-something, work-obsessed main character Leena, and her newly divorced grandmother, Eileen, who is looking for some fun.

First off, Eileen was an amazing character. She was such a BADASS. After getting out of her long time marriage that she realized she was really unhappy in, she decides to give online dating a try with the help of her Leena and her friends. She was also super funny, and I was entertained by all of her chapters. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone so much older than me, but definitely in a good way.

Leena, on the other hand, is someone who likes to occupy herself with work and doesn’t know how to slow down. Going away from the city and into the countryside allowed her a chance to reconnect with her mother and properly grieve the death of her sister. She had some ups and downs along the way (some of which made me a little frustrated), but I could understand where she was coming from. She felt really real to me, which is the most important aspect of characters to me in any novel.

The plot was also really joyous. There is a grumpy old neighbor, a funny neighborhood ‘watch’ group, a dog who I fell in love with, and more. The cast of characters were all really great, and the story was so light-hearted.

I know I keep saying that this book was really joyous, but there were certainly many heavier topics discussed in it as well (TW for death of a family member, grief, depression, and more). What I really liked about this book was that it had depth to it without being heavy. The story wasn’t about the sad parts, but more so about the characters getting passed these things.

This book definitely got me out of my slump, as it was a really fast-paced story. The audiobook narration was also so wonderful. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are looking for something happy and hopeful.

Have you read this book? Or have you read The Flatshare? Let me know in the comments!

How I Take Notes While Reading / My annotation Guide

Back in 2018, I wrote a post talking about how I annotate my books. I looked back on that post and realized that it definitely needs to be updated because I no longer follow pretty much any of the things I said in that post.

Over the year, my annotations went from being super colorful, with different colored pens/highlighters, sticky tabs, and more. Now, the only things I use are a black pen and yellow sticky notes.

Before I get into the specifics of how I annotate currently, I want to mention that there is nothing wrong with the colorful, intricate system of annotating. It just personally doesn’t work for me. If you like that, then maybe my older system will work better for you!

Anyway, let’s get into the post!

Symbols:

* First up is the asterisk—also known as my favorite symbol! I use this symbol probably the most when annotating. Basically, I use it to mark the quotes that I really relate to. When a character says something that I really connect with, I want to make sure I remember it, so when I flip through the book, I can find these marks easily.

! Exclamation points are used to highlight important parts in the story. This relates mainly to big plot points, foreshadowing, cliffhangers, etc. Anything big that happens, I keep track of it with this!

[ ] / __ If there are any specific quotes I like in a story, I usually mark them by underlining them. If I really like the quote, I underline it and put an asterisk next to it! When there is character description, world building, etc., I mark it by putting it in brackets!

? Whenever I’m confused by any part in a story, I put a question mark next to it. Sometimes this could be a word that I don’t know the definition to (so I’ll go back & look it up), or I just can’t understand an entire section (this is more common when I’m reading older classics). Other times, I am just confused by why a character did something, so I’ll put a ton of question marks next to the passage.

:) / :( The last symbol I use is smiley faces. If a character does something cute, or there is a happy moment in the story, I put a smiley face. On the other hand, if there is a sad moment, I put a sad face! This mark is pretty self-explanatory.

Writing I write down any quick thoughts I have about a book in the margins, directly onto the page. Usually, this consists of one or two words like “aw” or “I love him.” I’ve even written things like “LOL” or “OMG.” Sometimes I have a bit more to say, but usually I use this as a quick way to capture some of my thoughts.

Post It Notes:

I use yellow post it notes to write down any longer thoughts that I have, if I can’t fit them in the margin of the page. Usually, these are the specific things I want to mention about a book in a review post.

When I go back to writing my review, I refer back mainly to these post-its!

What if I’m not reading physically?

The majority of my reading this year has consisted of e-books and audiobooks, so obviously writing in the book is not possible. When this is the case, I literally open up a blank note on my phone, write down the title & author of the book, and then make a bulleted list of things I want to write down.

Sometimes I separate this into a pro/con list, but usually it is just my rambling thoughts as I read.

Here are some examples of that:

That is pretty much it for my note-taking while reading! I would love to hear how you annotate (if you do), so please share any of your methods or systems down in the comments.

I hope you all enjoyed the post & I’ll see you again on Thursday :)

Thought Collective #2: Let’s Chat About School.

I have always loved learning. As a child, I would look forward to the start of a new school year, more than any other kid. I couldn’t wait to be back in the classroom. I was also very independent, and I had so many different interests. In fact, I would become so enthralled by a topic that I would spend hours on my own researching everything about it. I would read books, watch Youtube videos, scroll through hundreds of websites.

My friends, family, friends of family, and teachers all saw my thirst for knowledge, and I was praised for it. I still am, to be quite honest. And I like that feeling. But at some point in my school career, my own, internal desire for more knowledge turned into expectations from others and a fear of failure or not being good enough. I felt so weighed down by the assumptions people had of me, by the presumptions that were place on me. So much so that eventually I cracked. I let my perfect exterior break, piece by piece, until I no longer knew who I was. I stopped caring about education.

In high school, I reached an all time low in terms of education. Learning became something that I was excited about to something I dreaded. I was not interested in anything I was being taught. I rarely studied, and when I did, I would have breakdowns at least weekly because I felt like it wasn’t getting through to me. Part of this was the environment of my school. I got accepted into a prestigious high school, and I was initially excited to go.

Unfortunately, my experience there was not good. The teachers expected a lot from us, and we were constantly made to feel like we had to be the best, and anything lower was not okay. The students all competed with each other and every conversation was centered around grades, studying, and anything related to school. I was looked down upon when I told people I was going to study communication in college rather than something traditional like medicine, business, or law.

To sum up, it was toxic.

Fast forward to the present. I just started my junior year of college this week. I told myself I would start fresh in college. I stopped trying to please others, and I was looking forward to studying communication. My love for learning returned.

Some of my negative habits and mindsets from high school are still with me (studying for way longer than necessary, getting upset when I get anything lower than an A+, etc.).

But my state of mind is so different now.

I just want you to know that if you feel like you aren’t doing well in school, or you’re currently hating what you’re learning, that can change! Don’t let the school system make you hate or fear learning. Because you should always want to learn!! Knowledge is such an incredible and powerful tool that can make you unstoppable!

And there are so many forms of knowledge- not everything is about being book smart! There are also so many ways to get an education that don’t require going to school. Reading, youtube videos, talking to your relatives and asking them questions, etc.

The moral of the story: learning is FUN!

I know this post is very ramble-y and doesn’t flow too well, but I hope some of you can relate to parts of this story! I want to hear about your experiences in school, and any thoughts you have about it!

Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!

My Favorite Book Adaptations

It’s no secret that the book is *almost always* better than the movie. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some really good adaptations! Today I wanted to share a few of my favorites! We’re going to talk about both movies and tv shows, so buckle up and let’s get into it!

Disclaimer– these are not the only good adaptations I’ve seen, but I just wanted to pick a few today! Also, there are some that I have seen but haven’t read the book it’s based off of, so I can’t compare how well they stick to the books.

Movies

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: First up is one of my favorite book to movie adaptations of all time! I remember watching this movie for the first time and just being in so much awe over how well it was done. It was pretty much exactly as I had pictured the book to be, and it blew my expectations away.

Unfortunately, the second movie just wasn’t at the same quality as this one, but I just pretend it doesn’t exist (oops).

Little Women: This is a pretty popular opinion, so I’m sure you’ve already heard how amazing this movie is. If you haven’t, though, I highly recommend watching it. I felt so fuzzy and warm inside as I was watching it, and it made my heart so happy. I actually read the book after watching the film, which is not common for me, but I have to say, it followed the book pretty well. While I was reading, I kept finding lines that I remember being in the movie, and as I was reading, I could picture the scenes in my mind. In this instance, watching the movie first actually added to my enjoyment, I think.

The Great Gatsby: This is a movie that critics always have negative opinions about, but as simply a CONSUMER of movies and not a critic, I believe that it is phenomenal. When I read the book for the first time in my junior year of high school, it wasn’t until I watched the movie that I thought the book was amazing. Before watching it, I just thought the story was okay.

But the movie brings it to life in a way that made me envision myself living in that time period. I loved the vibes, the aesthetic. I still stand by the belief that it is a great movie.

Bird Box: This was a PHENOMENAL movie adaptation, in my opinion. Although there were definitely some parts that differed from the book, I still really enjoyed it. While I was watching, I definitely felt chills down my spine, as it was so eerie. I actually think I need to rewatch this movie soon, as it was a favorite of mine in 2018, and I haven’t watched it since.

TV Shows/Mini Series

Normal People: This is one of those instances where the movie (or show, in this case) was better than the book, in my opinion. I gave the book 3 stars, but as I watched the show, I fell more and more in love with the story. I just feel like this book translated really well into a cinematic version, and that enhanced my enjoyment of the story. When a tv show can do that, that’s how you know it’s good!

Little Fires Everywhere: This book is a super popular one, and for good reason. And the show was just as incredible. First of all, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon in one show? Amazing. The direction of this show? Also amazing. There were a few changes in this show that I wasn’t completely happy with, but overall I think it was also really well done. It’s probably my favorite tv show adaptation ever, and I will be re-watching it soon.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: I will admit that I never finished reading all of the books in this series. I think I only read the first five or six (out of 13, I think) and stopped. Not because they weren’t good books, but I simply forgot about them because that was back in elementary school when I was mainly getting my books from the library, and also my attention span was not that great and I was always becoming interested in new things.

When I watched the Netflix show, however, I instantly remembered everything I had read in the books. I felt like I was back in fourth grade, picking out these books. It was just so fun and entertaining. I think it was so well done. I have also seen the movie adaptation, and think it is also a really great one! I honestly can’t choose which I like more.

What are some of your favorite adaptations? And what are some that I absolutely need to watch?

I am always looking for new movie/show recs, so please share them with me in the comments!

Books I’m Bringing to College – Junior Year Edition!

I can’t believe it’s already time for me to write this post! This is now my third year of sharing what books I’m bringing to college with me, but it’s a little different this year. Freshman and sophomore year, I had YOU choose what books I brought through a series of Twitter polls.

This year, I am not doing that, only because I completely forgot that I had done this in the past, and I already chose which books I’m bringing with me. I hope you can forgive me for that, though (🙈).

Alright, let’s look at the books!

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett: This is one of my most recent book purchases, and it is one I am really looking forward to reading. So many people have been talking about this book, which makes me really interested in it. I’ve also heard amazing things about The Mothers by this author, so if I enjoy this one, I will be adding the other to my TBR for sure!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: I want to finally pick this one up in the very near future, so of course I am bringing it with me to school. I actually bought it while I was at school last year, so I had it with me for a long time, but never got around to it. This year, I really plan to.

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard: I am not a big adult fantasy reader, but this is a book I remember hearing Merphy Napier talk about a lot in the past, and the way she described it made me really interested. That was a year or two ago, though, and I still haven’t read it.

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver: This is another book that I have had on my TBR for quite a while, so I want to get to it ASAP. I also own Before I Fall, which I also want to read sometime soon. Hopefully I really enjoy this one!

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: This cover is gorgeous. I’ve heard great things about this book. I’ve talked about it quite a lot, so we’re just going to move on. But I am really excited to read it!

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: I have been wanting to explore the world of YA mysteries for a while now, especially after reading the Truly Devious series this year. Many of my friends have really enjoyed this one, so I want to give it a shot! I’m not letting my expectations get too high, though, as I am a bit picky about this genre.

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: I’ve talked about this book a lot quite recently, as I really want to read it, and I have heard amazing things about it. I know it will be a more hard-hitting story, which are usually some of my favorite books.

The House by Christina Lauren: Did you know Christina Lauren wrote a thriller many years back before they started mainly writing romance? Truthfully, when I bought this book, it was before I even knew who Christina Lauren were, and it took me many months before I made the connection. I think it will be very interesting to see their writing in a different genre.

August Wrap Up 2020

The biggest lesson I learned in August is that just because I am capable of reading 10+ books every month, that doesn’t mean I have to.

I have consistently been reading quite a lot of books each month, mainly because I had a lot more time this year with, you know, the pandemic happening. But I was starting to feel burned out, and I wasn’t enjoying my time reading. It felt more like a task to check off my to-do list every day instead of a hobby I enjoy.

In August, I only read 6 books, which is a GREAT amount of books to read. That was something I reminded myself of this month. Even if I had read less than that, I still would have been really happy with the number. The number of books you read each month does not make you more or less of a reader.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what I read and my thoughts!

5 stars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: This is my only 5 star book of the month but it is very well deserved! After reading this book, I realized that I definitely care more about the story, characters, and world of the Grisha trilogy and this duology opposed to the Six of Crows duology. Don’t get me wrong, the latter is really good, but it just doesn’t give me the same joy that Nikolai, Zoya, Nina, Genya, Tamar, Tolya, and the others do!

4.5 stars

The Black Madonna of Derby by Joanna Czechowska: I’ve already talked about this in a review post I published at the beginning of the month, but I really enjoyed this! It was one of the first times that I related to a character’s ethnicity in a book because I’ve never looked out for a book with Polish main characters before!

4 stars

Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott: Last month, I read Little Women and absolutely loved it! This month, I read the 2nd of four books, and it was also a really great read! I definitely preferred the first book (or the first half, if you have an edition that combines both), which is why I gave this one a bit of a lower rating. However, it was definitely a heartwarming story, and I love these characters so much!

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington: Sleep is so so important to me, and when I listened to a podcast episode of Sakara life with Arianna Huffington where she talked about her story with sleep and hustle culture, I knew I wanted to read her book! This is a nonfiction book that really dives into the importance of sleep. It is packed with so much scientific information, as well as anecdotes from celebrities that show what lack of sleep can lead to. The one thing I wish this book did more of was talk about how to get better sleep and how to create a good sleep routine. However, I still really enjoyed learning more about the topic, and I think it is worth the read, especially if you are someone who consistently gets under 8 hours of sleep.

2 stars

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab: Okay, so I know I talked about this series before, and I gave it some high praise. But…the more I read this one, the more disinterested I was. I really did not care at all about any of the characters, so I kept zoning out of the story. I think I tried to give in to the hype when I read the first two books, but I realized that I actually didn’t like them as much as I thought. It’s not that the books are bad, I just don’t think they are for me. I really love Schwab’s writing, though, and I think that her other books may suit my tastes better. It’s unfortunate, but I had to be honest with myself!

1 star

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon: I finished this one on the very last day of the month, and unfortunately it was my least favorite of all. The writing felt very juvenile, the characters were not well-developed, the story was just a repetitive cycle, and the ending was incredibly rushed. I don’t want to go on about it for too long, but I just really didn’t like it. Luckily, I finished it in just about 4 hours, so it was a really quick read. Otherwise I would have DNF’d it.

How many books did you read in August? Have you read any of the ones I talked about? Let me know!

Fall TBR 2020

Hello everyone! Today’s TBR post is a little different from the rest of the one’s I’ve done this year. I am making a TBR for the entire Autumnal season rather than a monthly post! Mostly, this is because I am going back to school in a week, and I don’t know how often I’ll be coming home and changing my books. This way, I can read whatever ones I have on hand without stressing out about my TBR. Plus, I’m going to be doing less reading while taking classes, so it just makes more sense to do this sort of post.

First, as you may know, each month I read a book picked from my e-book TBR jar, so I decided to pick three books now rather than one!

September’s pick: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

First up we have this mystery/thriller that sounds super interesting to me. It’s told from alternating points of view, and it’s all about a family keeping secrets. I don’t want to say or know too much because for this genre I feel like that’s the best way to go into it. But, I am excited to read this!

October’s pick: Instructions for a Funeral by David Means

This book is actually a short story collection, so hopefully it’ll be a faster read for me! This one has some good ratings on Goodreads, so I am hoping to enjoy at least half of the stories in this. Again, I don’t know too much about this one, but I received it from Netgalley a while ago, so I would like to finally check it off my list!

November’s pick: The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd

Finally, this book is a YA contemporary that deals with mental health. The synopsis is very short, so I don’t know too much about it. However, from the first few reviews, it looks like it is a really beautifully written story, and I am looking forward to reading it.

General Fall TBR:

As far as the rest of my TBR, here is a list of the books I want to read. There are 12 of them, so approximately 4 per month, plus my three e-books, making it 5 books per month total!

I’m not going to go into detail for these, as there are a lot, so you’ll have to come back for my wrap-ups to see how I feel about them!

Adult / New Adult

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Young Adult

Something like Gravity by Amber Smith

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

The House by Christina Lauren

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Where Dreams Descend Blog Tour // Review

Hello and welcome to another review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts on the debut novel ‘Where Dreams Descend’ by Janella Angeles! Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this to review!*

The book comes out TODAY, the day you are reading this, so check it out if you are interested!

*All opinions are my own!

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review:

So to start off, I just want to say the aesthetics of this book? Phenomenal. The synopsis was SO intriguing to me as someone who loves stories about magicians/circuses (The Night Circus, Caraval- both favorites of mine). This book is supposed to be inspired by Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera, both of which I know nothing about (oops 🙊). BUT, if those are things you are interested in, this book might be right up your alley!

I definitely think a lot of people are going to absolutely adore this book. From the minute I saw the cover art, I knew the story was going to be dreamy.

I think the best way for me to share my thoughts of this book are through pros and cons, so it’s easier to understand! Let’s start off with the good.

Things I LOVED:

  • The atmosphere: The beginning of this book is very ominous. The reader is filled with tons of questions right off the bat. A few chapters in, we are transported to a new location and it was really well described. I was so curious the entire time about what this place was, and I was itching to learn more!
  • The feminism: Our main character, Kallia, is strong and fierce. Female magicians are not welcomed in the world she lives in, so Kallia is put at a disadvantage right from the start of the magic competition. BUT, she does not get intimidated by the men who are clearly trying to sabotage her performances, and she does not quit. She stands up to them the entire time, which I admired a lot.
  • The plot twists: There were quite a few plot twists in this story that I did not see coming (maybe if you are familiar with PotO or MR you wouldn’t be as surprised), and it really added to my enjoyment. I adore plot twists in books- without them, I feel like stories are much too bland.
  • The ending: My favorite part of this story, and what probably ended up saving the book for me, was the ending. It leaves off at just the right part- I want to know what happens next and I can’t wait to read the second book now. This is a duology, and the second installment will be released next year!

Things I DIDN’T LOVE:

  • The writing: This story felt quite choppy in a few places, and it didn’t always make sense to me. I was getting lost by it. It felt like it was strung together a little awkwardly, especially at parts where the POV changed. I don’t know if this was due to the e-ARC formatting, or if it was done purposefully, but it threw me off a bit. I think it needed a few more editing passes to feel completely finished.
  • The middle: This book was very slow-paced, and I think it could have been shortened quite a bit. This is saying a lot, coming from me, a person who loves slow-paced books with lots of description. This one was just too slow. I feel like the book focused a little too much on having beautiful prose instead of explaining the plot. There needs to be a good balance of the two!
  • The character and story development: On top of that, the characters didn’t feel fully developed to me, either. Also, I feel like too many things were left unexplained. The magic system could have been so interesting, but instead, I was left really confused by it- especially the mirrors (you’ll understand after reading it). I’m hoping that all will be explained in the next book, which is what I’m really holding out hope for.
  • The romance: There is a love triangle in this story, though I don’t fully understand it, either. It felt a little forced, in my opinion, and again, I feel as though it needed some more development. I think in book two it will be explored more, and if Kallia ends up with who I hope she does, then this could turn into something I like!

All in all, I think this duology has a lot of potential, and many others have adored this story, so it is worth checking out if the synopsis interests you!

My rating: 3/5 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments!

Again, thank you so much to Wednesday books for providing me with an ARC.

How I Stay Organize & Plan For School!

New school year = new organization post!

You guys know me and how much I love my organization. Every year, I tweak my system just a bit, but this year, I think I’ve really nailed it.

Last week, I shared my note-taking system for school, and now I’m here to tell you how I stay organized!

Since January, I have been using a bullet journal to keep track of my work life (meaning blog posts, Instagram content, reading, etc.). However, I decided that at the end of this month, I will stop using it. It is just becoming too much work for me, and I actually much prefer having a layout already made for me.

That being said, I’m super picky about what types of planners I use. I look for very specific layouts in the planners I buy.

So, today I’m going to share with you what planners and other accessories I will be using to stay organized this year!

For School/Professional Life:

Day Designer Planner in collaboration with Target: I have been using this planner since my freshman year of college (so this is now my third year using it), and I will never ever go back to anything else.

Unfortunately, the exact planner that I use can only be found at Target because it’s a special edition that they make for the store each year.

What I love about it so much is that it it gives you an entire page for each day, and you get a to-do list PLUS a schedule, too! I like writing out what classes I have at what time, otherwise I’m afraid I might forget about one. This also allows me to put in my work schedule, club meetings, professor’s office hours that I want to attend, study sessions, anything!

But on the to-do list side, I can write down what assignments I have due for each class. It has truly been life-changing to have a planner like this for school.

File Folder/Organizer: This is essential to me for staying organized at school. I typically carry one folder with me to my classes to hold any papers I get that day, as well as any assignments I need to hand in. Then, I separate those papers into my file folder when I get home! This way, each class is separated and I can easily find what I’m looking for when it comes to studying for midterms or finals. I highly recommend getting one!

For Personal/Blogging Life:

Lightspeed Planner Greatness Edition: This planner was sent to me last year (and you can check out my in-depth review here), and I planned on using it right when I got it. However, I was using a few too many other planners at the time already, so I just left this one untouched. Then, when I was cleaning out my drawers a few weeks ago, I found it again and knew I wanted to start using it.

It’s pretty similar in terms of features to my school planner, but what’s nice about it is it’s undated! That means if one month I decide I don’t want to use it, I can pick it back up the next month with no wasted pages!

In this one, you get a page for each day, too. At the top, you can list out your top 3 priorities, as well as the time you want to do them (or get them done by). Then, you get a to do list, and if you want, you can order this by time. There’s also a section for notes, which I love (because I use it to write shopping lists, meal plans, and other things). At the bottom, you can even rate your day from a scale of 1-10!

The reason I realized I wanted to switch over to this from my bullet journal is because it’s basically the same layout I was using in my bullet journal, only now I don’t have to do any extra work!

This planner is no longer being sold, at least from what I’ve found. I guess the company is no longer in business. However, one planner that I think is very similar to this one (and that I plan on buying for 2021), is the passion planner! So if you are looking for something similar to what I’m using, I recommend checking out their daily undated planner! Or, if you want a weekly layout version, they have options for that as well!

Notion: Finally, the last “item” I use to stay organized is the app Notion! You can get this for your laptop or as an app on your phone (or both, like I use). It’s basically an all-in-one planning, note-taking, to-do list making program, and it is PHENOMENAL.

There are tons of YouTube videos out there that go in-depth on all of the features of this program, so I definitely recommend checking those out. They will do a much better job of explaining it than I will. I really like the template that Thomas Frank created, so I recommend checking it out and possibly adapting it to fit your needs, like I did!

In short, I have one workspace on there that I separated into a few separate folders- life, school, blog, and internship. From there, I have created separate pages for each of these—and you can basically do whatever you want in here!

For my ‘blog’ category, I created a page where I have a calendar with all of my posts. I also have a page that’s just for post ideas. In my ‘life’ section, I have grocery lists, my 5 year plan, and my workout routine!

Basically, Notion is my go-to place to store all of my thoughts in an organized way. I really, really love it!

That is it for how I stay organized during the school year! I will admit, I used to be someone who had, like, seven planners at once. Now, I think simple is better. This is what works for me, at least!

I would love to know any ways that you like to stay organized, whether it’s for school, blogging, your career, or just daily life! Tell me about your systems in the comments :)

*New* Five Star Predictions + Update! (#4)

I can’t believe I’m already doing my fourth ‘five star predictions post.’ I might finally be getting better at this, but I don’t want to jinx myself with this next set!

Anyway, I’m going to quickly go over the books from my last predictions post, and then share 5 more predictions!

Previous Predictions:

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power: This was absolutely without a doubt a 5 star read for me. I have an entire review post up for this one if you want to check it out, but it really did exceed my expectations. Beautiful. Phenomenal. Amazing.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Another 5 star read! Woohoo! I’m already doing better than my first predictions post (oops). I really knew I would love this one because Six of Crows was such a great read, and the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because I wanted to better know the characters. I definitely got that from this second book!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: The first one I got wrong. I gave this book 3 stars only. I just wasn’t a big fan of it, and it was a huge disappointment to me because I know so many people loved it.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan: Another loss here. This one was just not a good book to me at all. I was so bored by it, and I did not enjoy the story. I gave it 2 stars, and I don’t want to talk more about it, but it just wasn’t for me!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Luckily, we’re ending on a positive note! I gave this one five stars, which doesn’t surprise me at all. I absolutely loved Little Fires Everywhere, and I knew that Celeste Ng would not disappoint with this one.

I got 3/5! Not too bad, if I say so myself. Should I aim for 4/5 in the next round?

New Predictions:

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: I have been wanting to read this book for far too long, and I’m very embarrassed that I have not yet read it (especially since I have an ARC 😭). I have heard nothing but amazing things about this one, though, and it is supposed to be about a heavier topic. If you know me, you know that I love hard-hitting contemporaries, so I am looking forward to it.

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: Full disclosure- this book is on here solely because of the cover. In all honesty, I don’t know what it’s about at all. BUT, I have heard some great things about it, and every time I see it on my bookshelf, I feel drawn to it. I’ve been scared to pick it up because of this reason, though, so this is my way of forcing myself to finally pick it up.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: I have now read all of Leigh’s published works (not including her novellas) except for this book! I am SO excited for it, especially considering that I have given all of her books high ratings. Plus, dark academia is totally my vibe, and I’ve been wanting to read more of it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green: This book has such a high rating on Goodreads, and everyone I know who’s read it has LOVED it. I am very excited to pick it up, especially because I know it has to do with social media. That is a topic I have been increasingly interested in reading because I have really been seeing how social media affects me personally. I think it will be both an enjoyable and thought-provoking read!

You Have a Match by Emma Lord: Last year, I read Emma Lord’s ‘Tweet Cute,’ and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of her next release! I absolutely loved her debut book, and I have such a good feeling about this one. I just know it will be such a cute, swoon-worthy read, and sometimes you just need one of those!

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were! I’m really hoping that at least 3 of these are 5-star reads, but obviously I hope all 5 of them are.

I can not wait to get into these soon, and hopefully give you all another update in a couple of months!

What are some of your 5 star predictions?