March TBR 2020

March is going to be a long month. I can feel it. This semester hasn’t been too bad as of now, but it is finally starting to pick up now that I’m at that halfway mark. I have a lot of work piling up, so I’m definitely a little worried about getting my reading in.

But, I also have spring break this month, so I’ll be home for a week without any obligations! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a lot of reading done then!

Wicked As You Wish rin chupeco

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

First up is Wicked As You Wish because I was actually a part of the “street team” that promoted this book! I was able to get an ARC because of this, and I am really looking forward to reading it.

I’ve seen many great reviews for this one, and even though I’m not a big fantasy reader, it caught my attention!

Docile km szpara

Docile by K.M. Szpara

Next up is another ARC that I am so happy to have received! This is a science fiction novel, which isn’t usually my thing, but this one sounds incredible. I have heard mixed reviews, though, which worries me a bit. I do want to get to it this month either way, as it comes out today actually!

hearts, strings, and other breakable things

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

This is my e-book pick from my TBR jar for the month of March! I love contemporaries, so I’m very happy I picked this one to read. It’s been on my Netgalley review list for a while now, so I am probably going to start off with this one so I can get it reviewed ASAP!

It’s about a girl’s last summer before going to college, which is one of my favorite times to read about! I feel like it’ll be a quick read.

the unhoneymooners

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

This month I am finally getting to The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren! This will be my first book from this author duo, and I am so excited! This one has received glowing reviews, and I really feel like I will enjoy it.

Also, please appreciate this cover: It is stunning!

My Oxford Year

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Finally, I had to make sure I included an audiobook to listen to as well. I chose My Oxford Year because it is fairly short (the audiobook is only about 10 hours long), and I can listen to it while I’m at the gym!

I’ve started this one already, and I’m really enjoying it so far! Hopefully the book continues down this direction :)

let's chat

That is it for my March TBR! Sticking to a TBR has actually made my life a lot easier, so I’m excited to see if I will be 3/3 this month!

What are you hoping to read in March?

Jessica

February Wrap-Up 2020

Another month, another wrap-up! This month I only read 5 books so far (with a hopeful 6th almost done). This wrap-up may not be as long as previous ones, but I am proud of myself for reading anything regardless. I’m also trying to focus less on quantity this year, and spend more time with each book and actually enjoy it.

Anyways, let’s look at what I read!

Current Read: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Okay, so I know I haven’t finished this book yet, but I’m 1/2 way through it and I still have until Saturday to finish it, so I think I’ll be able to finish it! Either way, I wanted to include it here anyway because the majority of it will be read this month!

As of now, I’m really enjoying this one, and I can see it becoming a favorite read for me for sure!

5 Stars

  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell- Beautiful read. It was heartbreaking but it touched on such a dark topic in a good way. I think it’s an important read for sure.
  • How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow- I wasn’t planning on reading this one this month but I needed an audiobook to listen to, and this one was incredible. Another one that is a bit on the darker side, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3 Stars

  • Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham- Disappointing one for sure because I hyped it up so much in my head. I still really recommend Lauren Graham’s memoir though!
  • A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert- This book fell a little flat for me, which I was sad about because I loved two of her other novels so much. Unfortunately, the characters and their chemistry felt a little forced to me.

Beholding Bee

2 Stars

  • Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco- This one was on my TBR for so long so I’m happy to have finally checked it off. BUT, I definitely did not connect with the story or the writing style at all.

let's chat

That’s all for today’s post! I am happy to say I have successfully followed a TBR for two months now. Maybe I’ll be able to do this every month…

Jessica

Let’s Talk Underrated Books

I’ve read a lot of books throughout my twenty years. While many of those books are considered “popular,” there are about just as many underrated ones that I haven’t seen many people talk about.

I am someone who will definitely succumb to the hype, but I want to get better at picking books up just because they interest me, not because everyone is talking about them.

Today, I thought I would talk to you all about my favorite underrated books, so maybe you can add some to your TBR!

Tweet Cute_Cover

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

This is the only book on the list that has over 3,000 ratings on Goodreads (but not by much), and it did receive a bit of hype, but not to the extent that it deserves. This was such an adorable read. It was quirky, it was cute, it was fun. It was one of the best YA romances I’ve read in a while.

On top of its fluffy-ness, it also tackles many serious topics as well. I think that more people should pick this one up; it is definitely worth it!

100 days of sunlight

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

This a self-published book that came out last year that I had the chance to read and review an ARC of. Most people are hesitant when it comes to picking up indie books, but there are so many great ones out there that you can be missing out on!

Abbie Emmons is also a Youtuber, and I have been watching her videos for a couple of years now. She has such a great, bubbly personality, and she really does understand the craft of writing. Plus, the cover of this book is stunning.

you asked for perfect

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

This book spoke to me in so many ways. It deals with the stress of senior year, of keeping up your grades, of applying to colleges, etc. It was so relatable, and I truly did connect with it.

I have not seen many people talking about this one, though. I do wish that more people would read it because I think it’s such an important read, especially for those who are in their senior year of high school or are about to be.

the lady rogue

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Hi, my name is Jess and I am part of the Jenn Bennett fan club. I know I talk about Jenn Bennet in like 98% of my posts, but it’s because her books are just. that. good. Look, I would not be recommending them so often if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that everyone should read them.

The Lady Rogue is her latest release, and it is actually a historical fiction book (with a bit of a paranormal twist). I am not usually a fan of this genre, but Jenn Bennett did it so well. Her characters were so fun and well-developed, the romance was adorable, and the story did not drag on in any way. No one on my timeline has talked about this book, so I am bringing it to you!

let's chat

What are some books you think deserve more love and attention? I want to add them to my TBR, so please leave a comment :)

Jessica

New Adult Books I Want to Read

As a college student, I have found myself relating less and less to YA characters, but I also don’t quite relate to the characters in adult books who have real jobs and families. Luckily, there is an age range in publishing known as “New Adult.” However, it does not get the true recognition it deserves, and that is so disappointing. There are many people in the same situation as me that want to read about 18-25-year-olds.

I wish publishing took NA as seriously as it did YA and A. Recently, there have been many more books published that are considered NA. It is slowly becoming more and more widely accepted, which is amazing!

Here are 4 NA books that I want to read!

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

I actually didn’t fully love Mary H.K. Choi’s first book, Emergency Contact. It was a 3 star read for me, but I did see a lot of potential in it. That specific story just didn’t quite appeal to me.

This one, on the other hand, sounds right up my alley. All I know is that one of the main characters is a famous pop star, and that is something I LOVE reading about. I do want to give Choi another try, so hopefully I will end up enjoying this one more!

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

I have had my eye on this book for a really long time now. It got a lot of hype when it first came out in 2018, and I am in love with the cover. I know that there is now a second book in this series, so I would love to be able to read both of them sometime soon (but probably not until my book buying ban is over oops).

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Books that are set at college? Everything I want in my life. I have heard mixed reviews of this one, but I do own the audiobook, so I have a feeling I will be getting to it very soon.

If you’ve read this one, please let me know what your thoughts were!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve talked about this one plenty of times already, so I won’t say much. But, it is definitely high on my list, especially because it is an NA dark mystery novel. When it comes to NA, the books are usually romances, so this is something different. I have heard amazing things, and I am really intrigued by the premise.

let's chat

I want to add more NA books to my TBR! Please leave some recommendations for me in the comments because they don’t get talked enough in the book community.

See you soon :)

Jessica

My Favorite Audiobooks

In 2016, I discovered audiobooks, and ever since then, they have been a big part of my reading life.

the hate u give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This was one of the very first audiobooks I ever listened to, and the experience was just so wonderful. I have such great memories of driving to school in the mornings in high school and listening to this story.

This was so great on audiobook because I feel like listening to the story made it so much more powerful. I could feel all of Starr’s emotions when she spoke. The narrator did an amazing job, and I’m happy that I chose the audiobook for my first read of this.

Overall, if you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it, no matter what form you read it in!

turtles all the way down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

This was also one of the first audiobooks I ever listened to. I believe I got both this one and The Hate U Give with my first two audible credits that I got for free! I really, really loved this audiobook. It gave me chills to listen to it. The story is about a girl named Aza who suffers from OCD.

Throughout the story, she has these thought spirals, and listening to it made it feel like her thoughts were my own. I felt so much closer to the story because of it.

How to Make Friends with the Dark

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

This is actually the audiobook I just recently finished listening to. The story was so good, and the audiobook was great. Once again, I felt like I was in the story with the characters. I think that darker, harder-to-read stories are great as audiobooks because you can better feel the emotions of the characters- the voice actors really do an amazing job at that.

 

Becoming

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This is Michelle Obama’s memoir, and she actually narrates it herself. Hearing her tell her story through her own words and voice made it so much more important to me. She just has such a great voice, and it was almost soothing to listen to it. I have always loved Michelle, but this book really solidified my love for her.

 

daisy jones and the six

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Of course, Daisy Jones has to be on this list. First of all, it’s a full-cast audiobook, so each character gets their own voice actor. Plus, they all play their parts so well. I really felt like I was listening to a real band share their experiences.

This was one of my favorite books of the year in 2019, and I even listened to the audiobook twice because it was so good. I definitely think it earns a spot as my favorite audiobook of all time.

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers

let's chat

What are some audiobooks you like? Let me know so I can add them to my TBR (multiple narrators are a plus!).

Jessica

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

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