If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio / Review

I am so excited to talk about this book to you guys! I did not expect to love it as much as I did, but it is definitely one of my favorite books now.

That book is If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It has been on my TBR for a really long time, and just the fact that I finally read it is an accomplishment in itself.

But, the reason I’m so happy I enjoyed it is because I recently read The Secret History by Donna Tart, and that book only got about 3 stars from me. I really thought I was going to love that book, but it let me down big time. If We Were Villains was constantly being compared to TSH, so I was really worried about reading it. Luckily, it exceeded my expectations!

First, a Goodreads Synopsis:

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

if we were villains

Review:

Ok, let me start out by once again saying this book is like The Secret History. But, it was fast-paced in my opinion, the writing was better, and I liked the characters more. It definitely made me realize I really do like dark academia. It was honestly just such a beautifully written and interesting book.

Every character was so unique and I wanted to keep reading more about them, even the ones who were unlikeable. I did have trouble keeping up with all of the names at first, but once the story got going, you can clearly see their differences and you can figure it out easily.

Also, I am not a huge Shakespeare fan, but the references were all just so perfect and fit with the pretentiousness of each other characters. It actually made me want to pick up Shakespeare, which is not something I thought I would ever say.

As far as the plot- it was SO. DRAMATIC. And I mean that in the best way possible. It sort of reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby, which is a book I love! Also, the ending was INSANE. I was able to predict some of it, but not all. It left me satisfied, even though it was very shocking.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to my mystery/thriller loving friends! It was just very well done and it was definitely my favorite read of the first month of the year.

let's chat

Have you read this book before? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments, and please recommend me similar titles!

Jessica

Behind the Book Blogger Tag

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a tag because I haven’t done one in a while, and I’ve gained quite a few new followers recently, so I thought this would be a fun way to get to know more about me.

I found it on Xandra’s blog, but I wasn’t tagged to do it!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Link back to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

The Questions:

1. Why did you start blogging? & Why have you kept blogging?

I started blogging because I’ve always loved to write. I also always loved to read, so this was a way to combine my passions. It was a creative outlet for me, and it still is. I continued blogging because it really brought me so much happiness. It is something I love doing and can’t imagine myself stopping.

2. What is your favorite type of blog post to write?

I like creative posts the most- ones that require a bit more time and thought into them. This is typically discussion posts, but it’s also things like my “I read 5 books with anxiety and OCD rep” post.

3. What are your top three favorite blog posts?

Oo this is so hard. If I had to choose it would be…

4. What are some of your favorite things to do to relax?

My “relaxing day” routine typically consists of taking a long, hot bath while reading a book. I also like to do a face mask, paint my nails, and eat some good comfort food. Putting on a favorite movie to fall asleep to is also a plus!

5. What are three of your favorite things?

Like of all time? How am I supposed to choose this?

  • Books. Duh.
  • Mozzarella sticks. Priorities, right?
  • Sunsets.

6. What are your proudest blogging moments?

Blogtober in 2019 was pretty crazy- I posted on the blog every single day of October. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I was so proud!

Also, reaching 900 followers was pretty cool, and I’m almost at 1000!! It means so much to me that 1000 people would want to read my blog! I am so grateful each and every day.

7. What are your hobbies outside of blogging?

I love to run- preferably outside, but on a treadmill works when it’s cold out.

I also really found a passion for baking recently, and it’s something I want to do more of in 2020.

8. Describe your personality in three words.

Ambitious. Passionate. Creative.

9. What are your top three pet peeves?

People who are always in a bad mood.

When people are disrespectful to teachers/professors.

Being late to things.

10. What’s something your followers don’t know about you?

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this on here, but I speak Polish. I actually used to attend a polish school every Friday night until 10th grade (and I graduated!).

let's chat

That’s it for this tag! I’m not going to tag anyone, but feel free to do it if you liked it :)

Let me know if we share any similar answers!

Jessica

February 2020 BuJo Setup

Can you believe I’m actually being a consistent human being for once and I’m posting my February bullet journal spread? Me either.

But I’m doing it.

My bullet journal setup for this month is pretty similar to last month’s if I’m being honest. All I simply did was tweak a few of the pages that were not working for me last month, and I kept the ones that were.

I’m hoping to get more creative with my spreads in the future, but for now, I’m really just working on practicality and ease.

The first two pages of my spread are a little monthly overview. On the left-hand side, I have a section for my goals for the month (which I did not write in yet because I had not decided them when I made the spread).

On the bottom, I have room for my TBR, which I have actually already posted on the blog, so check that out if you’re interested! Then, on the right side of the page, I created a calendar so that I can have a monthly view. I use this mainly to track blog posts that are going up, as well as big events or birthdays!

Moving on, I have a spread for my habit tracking. Last month, I made individual blank calendars for each habit I wanted to track, but I really did not like that method. I know it’s pretty common in the bujo community, but for me, it was just very confusing.

Instead, for this month I created one “spreadsheet-style” spread to use. This was I can clearly see each day marked, and I can track even more habits. I think this method will be much more effective for me to use, so I’m excited about it!

On the other side, I have an expense tracker. I am working really hard on budgeting this year and getting my finances is order. I am going to be attempting a “no buy” month for February because January’s was not successful (mainly due to illness + school stuff, so I had to spend more money than I would have liked).

February BuJo 2020

Finally, we have my weekly spreads! This month is pretty similar to last month’s as well, as far as the horizontal layout goes. But, I do feel like I have more room to write under each day this time around, so I’m liking that a little more.

In the next month, I probably want to experiment with a vertical layout instead, but for now, this is something that worked for me, so why change it?

let's chat

Leave a link to any bullet journal posts you’ve done, if any, because I am always looking for inspiration! If you liked this post, definitely let me know. I’m not sure if I will continue posting these monthly, but I am having fun creating them, so if you want them, I’ll do them!

See you soon.

Jessica

February 2020 TBR

A new month means it’s time for a new TBR post! Last month was the first time I successfully created a TBR and fully stuck to it. I was always the type of person who claimed I was a mood reader (and I do still consider myself one). BUT, now I know that I can follow a TBR if I put my mind to it, too.

I’m hoping to be able to stick to my TBR once again, so here are the 5 books I hope to read!

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

As I’m sure you all know (because I talk about this way too often), I am trying to read as many of my backlist books as possible. Actually, I’m also taking part in the #Pondathon created by CW, and as part of Team Gen, our goal is to read backlist books! That is why almost all of these books are backlist- gotta get those points for my team!

This is a book I bought almost 4 years ago at this point. I’m ashamed that I have not yet read it, but hopefully, this will be the month!

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Oh, I am so excited about this one. I have a fear of big books, which is pretty much the only reason I’ve put this one off. But I just know that I will love it so much. The fourth book in this series came out TODAY, so it would be cool to be able to read this entire series this year. I’m not promising that it will happen, but it is definitely a possibility!

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is one of my favorite people on this planet. She’s so funny, down to earth, and a great writer. I’ve read her memoir as well as a speech she made for a high school graduation. Both were phenomenal.

I’m very interested to see how her nonfiction writing translates into a fiction novel.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This book was originally supposed to come out in January by publication got pushed back to March. This is good for me because now I actually have time to read it before release. I have seen some early reviews about this one, and almost all were positive.

I have heard that this is a dark book, but that is a genre/category I do like to read. I have pretty high expectations for this one!

A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert

Each month I am also reading a book that I pick from my e-book TBR jar. This month’s pick is A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert! I have read one other Talia Hibbert book and it was really great! It should be a fairly quick read. Plus, it’ll be the perfect book to read in between classes.

let's chat

What do you think of the books on my TBR for this month? Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of them and what your thoughts were!

See you soon!

Jessica

January 2020 Wrap-Up / Starting Off the Year Strong!

The first month of the year is pretty much OVER. January actually felt like a really long month for me, personally. So many things happened, but, overall, it was a really great month.

Let’s take a look at my month in review!

📚On Books:

I read 8 books this month, which I am very happy with! I read all 5 books that were on my TBR for this month (which I am extremely proud of- I don’t think I’ve ever done this before).

Also, I had a really great reading month in terms of star ratings- most books were 4 or 5-star reads!

January 2020January 2020

🔐On Life:

  • I wanted to try to get back into some non-reading related hobbies this year. Of course, I will continue reading, blogging, and writing, but I do want to be a more well-rounded person, so I started working out and running again. This has honestly done wonders for my mental health. I feel great every time I get to the gym.
  • I also started baking more! I’m back at school now, so baking isn’t something I can do unless I’m at home, but I had so much fun trying new recipes and working from scratch to create delicious (and healthy) treats. I posted about the desserts I made on my Instagram stories, so be sure to follow me on there to see more!
  • I attended a wedding this month with half of my family, and it was so much fun. Some of my family members from Poland even flew in, some of which I haven’t seen in YEARS, so that was so nice.
  • Finally, I started the Spring semester of my sophomore year of college. It’s crazy to think that I’m almost halfway done with my undergraduate experience.

📝On Goals:

  • Workout 15 times ✔︎
    • I actually worked out EVERY SINGLE DAY of the month! I was not aiming to do this, but I actually wanted to work out every day, so it just sort of… happened. Some days were much lighter (just yoga, a short run, etc.), so I never felt exhausted or overworked. Will I continue to workout daily forever? No. But it was cool to be able to do so for at least one month!
  • Start writing again ✔︎✘
    • I did write a few things. A couple of poems, a few lines of a WIP. But, my goal was really to start writing consistently again, which is something I did not do. Next month I want to figure out a more structured schedule for myself to write, but it’s hard with school and work.
  • hit 975 blog followers ✔︎
    • Thank you so much to everyone who has followed me this past month! I have been working hard on my posts, so it means a lot to see that people actually notice and want to follow. I’m so close to 1000 followers now!! That is so cool!!
  • read 5 books ✔︎
    • As you already know, I read 8 books. YAY!
  • meditate twice a week ✔︎
    • Another one of my 2020 goals is to meditate more. I wanted to start January off with just twice a month, and so far, I have accomplished that! I might increase this goal next month, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself with this.

let's chat

Tell me about your month and how it went for you! Also, let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what your thoughts were on them :) See you soon!

Jessica

Backlist Books I Need to Read!

Hello everyone! Today’s post is sort of my late 2020 TBR. If you’ve seen my Reading Goals post, you know that I am trying to read (mostly) all of the unread books on my shelves. Therefore, I have a ton of backlist books to read.

Today, I thought I would share 10 of those with you all. Please let me know if you’ve read any and what your thoughts were!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. How is it even possible that I have not yet read the sequel? If I’m being honest, I’m scared to. I don’t want it to taint my love for TKAM in any way, and I’m worried my expectations won’t be met. But, I own TWO copies of this book, so I definitely need to read it- and soon.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Again, Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite authors. I can’t believe I still haven’t read this one considering it’s been on tons of my monthly TBRs. I will get to it this year, and hopefully soon. I know I will love it just as much as her other books. I don’t know what’s holding me back from this one.

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

I don’t have many fantasy novels on this list, but this is one I am really excited to read. I love books featuring magicians, and this one has a lot of good reviews, so I’m confident that I will love it.

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith

This one initially drew me in because of its beautiful cover. But, the plot also sounds so amazing. I have really been in the mood for more YA contemporaries recently, so this one is a must.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I really, really want to read more adult romances this year, and what better way to start than with Christina Lauren? This just looks like it will be such a fun and cute read, so I’m excited to see what I think about it!

The House by Christina Lauren

Yes, another Christina Lauren book. This one is very different, though. It’s a mystery/thriller, not a romance like they usually write. It’s a book I’ve owned for a really long time, so it would be great to be able to finish it soon!

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

This one is a bit more of a hard-hitting contemporary, which is a category of YA fiction I want to explore more. It’s a mystery/thriller about the murder of a girl 5 years ago. It sounds really great, so I think I’ll enjoy it a lot! I would also like to read more of Lauren Oliver’s books in the future.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I recently read The Secret History and unfortunately did not enjoy it as much as I hoped. It had all of the elements that I wanted- mystery, college setting, pretentious kids, etc. BUT, it was very slow-paced, and I felt like the ending just dragged on for a really long time.

I’m really hoping that this one meets my expectations a bit more because it does have many of the same things in common.

The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman

This cover is gorgeous, and I’ve heard many good things about this one. Again, I believe this is a hard-hitting contemporary, so I’m really interested in reading it. I’ve owned it for a while now as well, so I NEED to get to it.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Finally, I would love to read this one. It’s not totally backlist because it just came out at the end of 2019, but I’ve owned it since basically release day and haven’t read it yet which is a crime honestly. I actually have not read Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology yet, but I read the Grisha trilogy last year and loved it, so I really want to read more of her books this year.

let's chat

I am really making it a mission to read as many of these as possible this year so that in the future I can focus more on new releases! What are some backlist titles you need to read?

Jessica

Authors I Need to Check Out!

I talk about my favorite authors on here quite a lot. What I thought I’d do instead today is talk about some authors whose books I’ve never read but I have heard amazing things about so I should probably pick up one day. Whew, that was a mouthful. 

the good daughter

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is a very well-known thriller author. I own one of her books, The Good Daughter, and I have quite a few of her other books on my TBR. One thing I noticed about myself is that I really love reading mystery/thrillers via an audiobook rather than physically, which is why I have been putting this one off for so long.

But, I definitely want to dive in and see what all of the hype is with her books, so hopefully, I will get to one soon!

my lady jane

Cynthia Hand

I own two of Cynthia Hand’s books that she actually co-authored with two other ladies- My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane. I’m not the biggest historical fiction fan (though I’ve had really good experiences with a few recently), which is why I’ve been holding off on them.

But, she has written other books that I want to read as well: The Afterlife of Holly Chase and The Last Time We Say Goodbye. I definitely plan on at least getting to The Lady Janies books in the near future and I am very excited about it!

the simple wild

K.A. Tucker

I love to read romance, though I don’t read as much of it as I would like. K.A. Tucker’s books have been on my radar for a while- first because the covers caught my attention (The Simple Wild especially), and second because I’ve heard amazing things about them.

For some reason, I just feel like I will really fall in love with her work, so I have been meaning to finally read one of her books.

Dig AS King

A.S. King

A.S. King is probably the person I am most excited to mention on this list. First of all, Ariel Bissett and Kayla from Booksandlala are two of my favorite booktubers and A.S. King is one of their favorite authors. I absolutely must pick up one of her books. It’s kind of a crime that I have not yet done so.

If anyone has any suggestions for what order to read her books in, definitely help me out!

let's chat

There are tons more authors I want to read one day, but here is my condensed list! Who are some authors you haven’t picked up yet but want to?

Jessica

Most Anticipated Releases 2020 (Jan-Jun)

I am awful at staying on top of new releases- I barely read any in 2019. This year, though, I decided to make a list of all of the ones I’m excited about.

Here is that list for the first half of the year!

January

Lucky Caller by Emma Mills: I’m sure you’ve all heard of Emma Mills before- she’s a contemporary queen. I’ve only read one of her books, but I adored it. This one is about a girl taking a radio broadcasting class which is something the communication major in me is very interested to read about!

Out: 1.14.20

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord: Cute contemporary romance by debut author Emma Lord that will have you swooning for days. I actually already read this one last year and I LOVED it! Be sure to check out my full review here.

Out: 1.21.20

February

45046784

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers: Courtney Summers is the author of the very hyped book, Sadie, which I loved. This is actually a re-release (the book originally came out in 2008), but I love the matching cover to Sadie so I want to own it!

Out: 2.4.20

March

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco: I am so excited to announce I am part of the street team for this book! More information will be given to all of y’all soon. But, this is definitely a much-anticipated novel for me!

Out: 3.3.20

Docile by K.M. Szpara: I recently received this ARC of this book and I am dying to start reading it. I have heard nothing but very incredible things about this one. I know that it is a gay sci-fi book, and that’s all I need to know honestly! I will hopefully be picking it up soon.

Out: 3.3.20

Moment of Truth by Kasie West: I’ve only read one Kasie West book, unfortunately. I definitely need to read more by her. Nevertheless, I am anxiously anticipating this one. March 3rd is a big day for new releases!

Out: 3.3.20

April

Loveless alice oseman

Loveless by Alice Oseman: I have been following Alice on social media for a while now, and seeing her journey with writing this book has been inspiring. I know it was a tough book for her to write, which is why I know it will be so incredible to read. I read and loved Radio Silence by her, and I do want to read the rest of her novels as well!

Out: 4.30.20

May

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett: This is probably my most anticipated release for this half of the year. Jenn Bennett is one of my all-time favorite authors. I love all of her books, and this one is one I can not wait to get my hands on.

Out: 5.5.20

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins: I re-read The Hunger Games trilogy in 2019, so it was fate when this book was announced. This is supposed to be the prequel to the trilogy, and apparently it’s almost 600 pages long?!?! Count me in.

Out: 5.19.20

June

Today Tonight Tomorrow

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon: This is another cute contemporary that just sounds like it’ll be so much fun to read. I have not read anything else by the author, but I have seen a lot of hype surrounding this book on Twitter, so I really want to pick it up!

Out: 6.16.20

let's chat

There are tons of incredible releases coming this year that I absolutely can not wait for! What are some releases you’re hoping to get your hands on?

Jessica

2020 Life Goals and Resolutions (Will I actually be successful this year?)

Hello and welcome to my 2020 life goals post! I know that we’re halfway through the month at this point, but I still wanted to share what my 2020 goals are because I like to have a way to hold myself accountable!

If you haven’t already seen it, I posted a reading goals post a little while ago that you can check out as well!

I have many goals this year that I honestly don’t know if I will be able to accomplish fully. However, I wanted to go into this year by aiming high rather than low, so I decided to add more resolutions than I usually would.

I divided them up into personal and blogging goals, though the personal ones can be divided up even further into mindfulness, health/fitness, school, finance, and misc.!

Along with this, my mantra for the year is “be present.” I noticed that I tend to spend way too much time planning for, thinking, and worrying about the future rather than focusing on the here and now. Hopefully, I will be able to change that this year!

Now, let’s get onto the goals!

Personal:

Mindfulness:

  • meditate more frequently
  • set to-do lists the night before
  • limit screen time

Health/Fitness:

  • eat less processed sugar
  • workout 3-5 days per week (at least 15 times per month)
  • drink 64 oz of water per day

Finances:

  • attempt a “low buy year”
  • add $5-10 per week into savings account
  • pay off credit card

School:

  • join a new club
  • start thesis research
  • land a summer internship or job (slightly school-related)

Miscellaneous:

  • write more frequently
  • watch all movies on AFI’s Best 100 Movies list
  • learn to bake/cook better

Blog:

  • Post at least once a week (but aim for 2)
  • write one book review per month
  • utilize Pinterest more
  • hit 1000 followers

let's chat

Again, I am being ambitious this year, but I’m going to slowly incorporate these things into my lifestyle. I am not trying to immediately accomplish all of these, so I do think I can be fairly successful!

What are some of your resolutions?

Jessica

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord Review // Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to another post! Today I am bringing you a review of an incredible YA contemporary that I read back in December. It stole my heart, and now I hope it steals yours, too.

I’m talking about Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. I was so honored when I was chosen to be a part of this blog tour because this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. And trust me, it did not disappoint.

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Tweet Cute_Cover

My Review:

As I mentioned earlier, this book stole my heart. It is a cute, cheesy YA romance. It was light-hearted, relatable, and so much fun. I read the book in basically two days because once I got into it, I didn’t want to put it down.

The writing is very fast-paced, which is something I need for a contemporary novel. It was also very witty

Let’s talk about the characters- Pepper was so relatable to me it was honestly a bit scary. She is extremely ambitious and is at the top of her class at school, but she doesn’t really fit in much with the other kids. She has a bit of an existential crisis throughout the book which is something I could relate to (and I’m sure most people can). She also loves to bake which is an element I love seeing in a book (both because I have the biggest sweet tooth ever but also because baking is so fun).

Jack was also so adorable and I really liked reading his chapters. I could see a lot of myself in his personality: he is extremely caring for his friends and family, hardworking, responsible, and just an overall good person.

The two of them together? Swoonworthy. It was an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers situation and I was all here for it.

I also really liked the premise/plot of this as a whole. As someone who spends a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time on Twitter myself, I was able to understand all of the references and I felt more connected to the story because of it. Also, there are a few “Mean Girls” references which I absolutely loved.

It also does touch upon some heavier topics in a really great way, such as divorce, finding yourself, pressure from your family, etc.

Overall, this is a book I know I’m going to be recommending to people for years to come. I highly urge you to go pick it up next week when it comes out!

My Rating:

five stars

let's chat

I hope you guys enjoyed this review! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book/plan to read it! I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you want to preorder the book (which comes out January 21st), you can do so here!

Jessica