october book haul 2018

It has been a really long time since I’ve done a book haul! I’ve been controlling myself a lot and have tried not to spend money on books, but I decided I could treat myself a bit this month.

I didn’t go crazy, I just bought about 5 physical books, and a few e-books (some of which were free/really cheap).

After this haul, don’t expect another one for a few months because I am going on a ban. I can’t spend anymore money on books when I own so many unread ones!

Alright, let’s just get into it :)

Physical Books

2F3161C6-25E1-40E7-8D0C-E69CE212D460.JPGThe first book that I got this month was Alice Oseman’s I Was Born for This! I have been wanting this book for a really, really, really long time. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts and definitely tweeted about it! I finally decided to order it online, and it took a really long time to come since it’s from the U.K. BUT IT’S HERE!! I have an audiobook of Radio Silence also by Alice, but I really want to read this one first.

The next two books are ones I ordered from BookOutlet! The first is My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry, which I bought for a buddy read I’m doing. It sounds so good, and I am really excited to pick it up. I have been extremely interested in thrillers/mysteries for a while now, so I’m glad I have this one in my possession.

Of course, it’s hard to just buy one book on BookOutlet. When I saw The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett was on sale (for like $2!!), I knew I had to get it. I’ve read three of Jenn Bennett’s books (buy Serious Moonlight when it comes out) and haven’t given any of them lower than 5 stars. She is easily one of my favorite authors, and I am trying to read all of her (non-fantasy) books ASAP. After this one, I only have one left!

Next, are my most recent purchases from Barnes and Noble. I was supposed to start my ban before buying this, but I couldn’t resist. I had just gotten the results of my midterms back, and since I did really well, I thought I could treat myself.

First, I picked up Starfish because I read Akemi Dawn Bowman’s newest release Summer Bird Blue this month, and I was so in love with it! I am a sucker for good character driven stories, and that one was beautiful. Starfish are also a huge symbol in my life (as well as jellyfish), so I just feel really connected to the book already. Plus, LOOK AT THAT COVER. It is stunning!

I also got Bird Box by Josh Malerman because the Netflix movie is coming out in December and I know I’m going to want to watch it, but I want to read the book first. It’s also been on my TBR for a long time, so I’m excited to read it.

e-Books

 

I got two e-books thanks to Amazon Prime (so they were free)! The first was A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro which is something I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. I really want to read the original Sherlock Holmes books, but I know I won’t get to those for a while, so I’ll start with this.

I also got The Selection by Kiera Cass which everyone has raved about for YEARS on booktube. I actually took it off my TBR because I didn’t see myself buying it anytime soon, but when I saw it was free on kindle prime, I decided why not? I actually just started this and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s definitely a very fluffy read, but I’ve been in a reading slump lately, so this is helping!

 

I just recently purchased an Amazon Fire tablet, so I got an email from amazon giving me a $5 credit for kindle books. With that, I bought My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni and How To Break a Boy by Laurie Devore. I don’t know much about either of them, but they added up two $5 and I had at least heard about them in the past. Hopefully I enjoy them!

The last e-book I got was The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter because I had been wanting to read one of her books for the LONGEST time, and when I saw a few people talking about it, I decided to finally get it! I am waiting until I am out of my slump to read it so that I can truly enjoy it!

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That is it for my haul! Please let me know what you think of these books if you’ve read any so that I know which one to start with. What books did you buy this month?

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my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans // pt. 2

Hello everyone! This is the second part of my NaNoWriMo 2018 series, so if you haven’t read the first one you can click here to do that. In the first part, I talked about my goals for prepping before NaNo, and I have definitely been working on those. They are not completely done yet, but I still have a week of October left, so I know I will get them all done before November begins.

In this post, I want to talk a bit about my outlining process and explain what my novel is about!

I am calling it “Project X” for now, because it does not have an official title yet. From now on, that is what I will be referring to it as! Some of you may remember that over the summer I was working on a writing project with the same name. That project sort of turned into this one, so that’s why I am keeping the name. I combined some ideas into one, but the concept as a whole is brand new.

What is it about?

The story follows Summer as she goes to visit her father in New Jersey for the months before she begins her freshman year of college. Her father has a new girlfriend, she starts a new job, and she’s going to be moving to a new state soon. All of these changes are happening way too fast for her. Until one day she runs into Noah and starts to fall for him. He might be the only thing keeping her from reaching her breaking point. However, they’re both hiding something from each other. Can a relationship still form despite the secrets? Or will it end in disaster for both of them?

The story is still forming and a lot can change! However, this is the main gist of it. It is definitely going to be more of a character driven story, and I hope to make the reader feel very connected to at least one person. Their personalities are all so different, and they each go through a lot of growth throughout the book. Let me know what you think of it :)

Outlining Process

Outlining is so much fun for me, but it takes a long time and requires a lot of work. I have been using a notebook to outline, because I like to have a physical form of the story- it feels more personal and almost like a work of art to me.

I started with a short summary, and then created pages for my main characters. This took a lot of time, because each character is so unique and requires my full attention. I’m glad I took the time for this though, because I know my characters so well now and how they will react in different situations. It will be a lot easier to write them because of this.

I then decided about how many chapters I wanted the story to be, and I wrote out different plot points and events that I want to occur on post-it notes. This is very helpful because I can stick them on different pages, but move them around if necessary. Starting with the first chapter, I wrote out some bullet points of what would happen in each chapter. I am almost midway through at this point (I plan to have 28 chapters), so I just have a little bit more work to do.

It’s a little hard to describe how I outline through words, it would be much easier to talk about in video form, so I suggest checking out some authors on Youtube who talk about how they outline!

The story is really starting to come together, and I am excited to see where it goes, once I actually begin writing!

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Are any of you participating in NaNo this year? Let me know what kind of story you’re writing down in the comments (if you feel comfortable). Good luck!

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ebook-a-thon wrap up

Today is the last day of the ebook-a-thon! Unfortunately, I did not complete all of the books that were on my TBR, but I did manage to read 3 ebooks during the week.

The Best American Poetry 2018 by Dana Gioia

I started off the week with this ARC because I knew it would be a quick read for me and it would help me get start this read-a-thon on the right foot! I finished it quickly, but unfortunately did not really enjoy it very much. There were a few good poems in the collection, but as a whole, it really disappointed me.

All the Things We Lost by Kayla Tirrell

Next, I picked up another ARC (there is obviously a theme here, haha) that I wanted to get done. I honestly can’t even tell you what it was about because I already forgot. That’s how un-memorable it was. I think I only gave it about 2 stars, so even though I was getting some reading done, the read-a-thon wasn’t going too well.

A Poet’s Notebook: Stewart Henderson

Finally, I began this book- another ARC. I have been really behind on Netgalley, so I felt guilty picking up anything other than an ARC this week. I actually DNF’d this book because it was so painfully boring. Each chapter begins with a story, description, or some other anecdote and is followed by a poem by the author. It is supposed to be a look into the writing process and where inspiration comes from for poets. However, I skipped all of the chapter introductions and just read the poems, because I really wasn’t interested.

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Overall, my reading week was a bit of a bust considering all of the books I read were 3 stars or less. However, I am glad I got to 3 different ARCs at least!

Did any of you participate in this read-a-thon? Let me know how it went for you if you did :)

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my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans !! pt. 1

November is right around the corner, and if you’re a writer you know what that means- it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) time! Basically, the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. It is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of work, but can be done.

I have tried participating in the past, but always occurred at times in my life where I was too busy or lacked inspiration. However, I have been really focusing on writing and making it a bigger priority over the past few months because it is something I want to spend my life doing.

I have already begun prepping for NaNo this month with a new storyline. The majority of my outline is still blank because I had just started figuring everything out but I have a ton of ideas. I just need to organize them and put them in the correct sequence.

My goals for October are…

  1. Finish the outline: Obviously this is incredibly important for me because I am NOT a pantser. I need to have my stories outlined and planned, or else my life will fall apart and I will go crazy.
  2. Create a writing playlist: This is something I have high on my list because it would be so helpful. I think music while writing really sets the vibe and helps you get into the mood of your story. I know not everyone likes this, but for me it is extremely important.
  3. Begin some writing: School is a lot of work. I didn’t believe people when they said college is hard. I knew it would be, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it’s been. So, I want to start some of the writing (which I know is kind of cheating) so that I don’t get unmotivated or beat myself up on the days that I don’t have as much time to write.

I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the upcoming month, but I am excited to get started with a serious writing project again!

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I will update you guys at the end of the month and give you my outlining process and a glimpse into what my novel is going to be about! For now, this is all I’ve got for you :)

Let me know in the comments if you are participating in NaNo this year!

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ebook-a-thon TBR

This post is extremely late because I completely forgot this TBR is happening and it starts TOMORROW!! I have way too many e-books/e-ARCs that I really need to catch up on, so this read-a-thon is going to help me out so much.

I also just bought myself an Amazon Fire tablet so that I can read the e-books I have without hurting my eyes too much on my phone. The timing of this read-a-thon is just so perfect, especially since I have Monday and Tuesday off from school.

I am going to try to read a book for all of the challenges except for the group read book (The Picture of Dorian Gray) because I don’t own it and don’t have an interest in it right now!

Here’s my TBR:

Daily Deal Impulse Day

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My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni: I just bought this the other day because I received a $5 e-book credit and this was only about $1.50. I have been really into mysteries/thrillers recently, so this book caught my eye. I have no idea what it is about but I hope it’s a good book!

Try a New Author

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter: I have been wanting to pick up a Karin Slaughter book for ages. A friend of mine on Twitter (if you’re reading this, Hey Kim!) talked about this book and I knew I had to finally check it out. She said it made her cry so I am hoping for the same reaction.

Oldest Book in Your Kindle

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Sociable by Rebecca Harrington: I received an e-ARC of this from Netgalley so long ago and I started reading it but never finished. I am determined to finally start it again and finish it because God only knows how long I’ve had it at this point.

Free Choice

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All the Things We Lost by Kayla Tirrell: I just got accepted for this book on Netgalley a little while back even though it came out over a year ago! It looks interesting and should hopefully be a quick read.

Ugly Cover

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Best American Poetry 2018 by David Lehman and Dana Gioia: This is another book I got from Netgalley, and I think it’ll be perfect for a read-a-thon since it contains a lot of poetry and will be a quick read.

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I don’t know if I will be able to get to all of these, but my goal is to at least read 2! Let me know if you have read any of these books, and which I should get to first.

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all the spooky books you need to read | thriller recommendations

I love the fall time so much. Maybe I’m a little biased because my birthday is in November, but it’s still such an amazing time. Another thing I really love is thrillers/mysteries.

Obviously this is the perfect time to recommend some of my favorite books in this genre! I hope you find some new favorites through this post :)

 

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

I received an e-ARC of this book a few months back without really knowing much about it. However, I was hooked from beginning to end, and I wish there was more of it. It follows a couple who moved into a new home that seems almost perfect until weird, creepy things start happening. It alternates between the woman and the man narrating the story, and their two voices were so distinct and unique which made the story so much better. If you are looking for an eery, creepy read, then I would definitely recommend this one.

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

This book was sent to me in a subscription box when I was a rep. I had no idea what it was about but I went into it that way, which made it so much better. So, I’m not going to tell you what it is about (just know that it involves a relationship that demonstrates an abuse of power). It was super dark and mysterious but it was fun to follow along with and try to guess.

Sanctuary Bay by Laura Burns and Melinda Metz

One of my favorite book settings of all time is boarding schools, so when I saw this book on BookOutlet, I had to get it. It follows a girl who gets accepted to an elite prep school which seems like a dream come true- until her roommate disappears. This book was phenomenal. I had no expectations because I had never heard of it before, but it blew me away. So good.

 

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

I read this back in middle school (which was so so long ago now), but it clearly left an impression on me. Once again, the setting is a boarding school, but it’s not too creepy. It’s more of a mild thriller, considering I read it when I was 13 and wasn’t scared at all. However, the story was super interesting and I loved the mystery of it. All that being said, I did read it back in middle school, so I can’t remember everything and my reading tastes have changed, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt!

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I talked about this book recently because I just re-read it. It is so good and so chilling. It’s narrated by a girl who was murdered and recounts the story of her death. It was extremely sad and I need to include a trigger warning for rape. However, it was really interesting to read and I loved it a lot. The movie is also so good!

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Let me know in the comments if you read any of these! Also, please leave some more thriller recommendations down below because I am really trying to read more and all suggestions are helpful :)

Xo, Jess

books I need to buy ASAP!

If you aren’t friends with me on Goodreads (you can go to my profile by clicking here) then you wouldn’t know that I have a whole shelf dedicated to books I need to buy. I can not afford to buy all of the books I want right away, because then I would be in so much debt (there are just way too many), so I occasionally add the books I want to buy ASAP on this shelf just so I can keep track of them.

I try to keep this list as short as possible, so I don’t get carried away when I’m browsing through Book Outlet! I’ve been pretty good about not buying books recently, and I’ve stuck to e-books for the most part, but here are five books I would love to own in physical form.

 

 

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

I have been wanting to pick this book up since the second I heard about the synopsis. I just feel as though I will really connect with it personally. I know there are some mixed reviews about this one, but I still really really want to own it and read it soon. I am also just so in love with the cover.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I CAN’T BELIEVE I STILL DON’T OWN THIS!!! I have been wanting to read this since before it came out. Alice Oseman has a Youtube channel that I have been watching for many months now, and I still have not read any of her books. Luckily, I just got the audiobook of Radio Silence, another one of her novels, and I will be getting to it very, very soon! I just absolutely need this book in my hands.

Still Here by Rowan Blanchard

This is a book I feel like you can only own in physical form. It is sort of like a journal by Rowan Blanchard filled with poems, pictures, scribbles of thoughts, etc. It seems like such a beautiful work of art, and it is something I have been dying to get my hands on for a long time. Considering it is similar to the format of a book I hope to publish one day, I think it would be extremely beneficial to own this one.

 

 

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

I absolutely love Lauren Graham. I listened to her memoir “Talking As Fast As I Can” on Audiobook a few months back, and I fell in love with her writing style. It is so funny, witty, and thought provoking. I bought the ebook of her novel “Someday, Someday Maybe” but have yet to read it. I am sure I will love it, though! This new release of hers is something that I believe would be so beneficial to me right now because it is filled with advice for graduates about careers, the future, life, etc. As a recent high school graduate, and current college student who is constantly thinking about the future, I think this book would teach me a lot!

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is a poet I have admired from afar for a very long time. I want to own some sort of collection of hers so that I can read it physically and be able to mark some of her poems for inspiration!

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What are some of your absolutely must own books? Are any of them on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to have more to add on my list.

Xo, Jess

a reflection on my first week of college

Before you read this, I just have one thing to say!

I originally had no intent to ever post this. I wrote what I was feeling because I felt like I had no one to talk to and I really needed to let this all out.

I am now in my fifth week of school, and I feel a whole lot better. I’m getting used to it, making great friends, and doing well in all of my classes. I might even be starting to love it! There really is an adjustment period, so if you are feeling the same way as I was, just give it time.

And for everyone who is not in college yet and is reading this, don’t worry. It’s not as bad as I made it seem. I tend to exaggerate things (a lot), and I feel completely different about school now.

Ok, on with this little open letter!

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I hate it.

I was anticipating this for months. Living on campus, being surrounded by friends, going out all the time, having freedom and more time to do whatever I like.

Instead, I feel stressed. Anxious. Lonely. Different.

I always relied on my ability to handle change and adapt to any and all circumstances. This is a change that I was excited for- I literally counted down the days. But I feel so lost. Like I’m missing a part of myself and don’t know how to get it back. Everyone around me seems to be doing so well. People have already made the friendships that they’re going to keep for life.

I feel like I’m so behind and having a hard time adjusting while everyone else has it so smooth sailing.

For the first time in my life, I miss home. I miss my room. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I even miss high school. That is a sentence I never thought would come out of my mouth.

I have always seen people older than me post about their experiences online and they all look like they are having the time of their life. That is the experience I wanted. I want to love this school so much that I’ll miss it when I’m home for breaks. But I can’t see that happening.

I know it takes time. Everyone tells me that. But it just doesn’t feel like it will change.

I’m trying to stay positive, but it can be really hard sometimes. Here’s to hoping next week gets better.

Xo, Jess

October TBR

HAPPY SPOOKY SEASON EVERYONE! I am writing this from the comfort of my home which is so amazing. It feels incredible to shower and not wear shoes, and sleep in my own bed.

Don’t get me wrong, college has been great, but nothing beats being at home.

It’s already October, which is insane. How did September fly by so quickly?? I love October and I love Halloween and scary movies. It is just a great month.

Anyways, with a new month comes a new TBR! It’s a little ambitious, since I haven’t been getting a lot of reading done with all of my schoolwork in the way, but I really want to try and get some more reading done in October.

 

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

This is my current read, but I’m only about 15% into it. I am so so excited to have this e-ARC in my possession because Jenn Bennett has been my favorite author of 2018 so far! She is such an amazing author and all of her novels are so relatable. So far, I am really enjoying this one, and I can not wait to finish it!

Girls Write Now

This is another current read. It’s a collection of essays all about feminism and girls rising up! It is really right up my alley. I don’t have any expectations going into it, but I hope that I can really find at least 2-3 essays that I fall in love with!

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

This is the last book that I am currently reading! It’s another one that I have an e-ARC of but the book has already come out and I didn’t finish it yet! I am really determined to finish it soon though.

Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

I was supposed to buddy read this with my friend Julia ages ago and we just never got around to it! I am determined to finally get to it, because it is the perfect time to read Stephen King!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

This has been on my TBR for the longest time. I purchased it at bookcon but still haven’t gotten around to reading it because I keep putting it off. I want to love this book so bad but many people have mixed feelings towards it so I am terrified! But it is a major priority for 2018.

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

This is a book I brought to college with me and still haven’t read, so I want to get to it soon. Ariel Bissett (aka one of my favorite booktubers) talked about it and I won a giveaway for it from her! I have heard so many good things about his writing, so I’m extremely excited to get to this!

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I am really, really going to try to get to all of these this month! I have so many books left that I need to read before the year ends, so these last few months are going to be crazy reading months for me!

What are your plans for October? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below.

Xo, Jess

reading critically vs reading for fun

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a week since my last post- although it feels like it’s been months!

I have settled into my dorm room at school, and I finally feel like things have gone back to normal. Obviously I am in a different setting, and the classes are totally different from high school, but I got into a normal routine and made some good friends.

Blogging should be back to a normal schedule now!

Anyways, today’s post is about something that I have been thinking about for quite a while now. I realized that there are three different ways that I read books- either critically, for fun, or a mix of both.

Critical:

I read critically mainly when I read books for school. Most of the time I don’t love the books I read for school, so I end up just reading them for the analytical part.

I am naturally a very critical reader, so this is something I do regardless of what I’m reading. I often take notes, and I write annotations in the margins of my books.

When I rate books that I read critically, they typically tend to get a lower score because I think about all the different aspects of the book- from the writing style, to the character development, world building, and sentence structure.

Fun:

On the other hand, I tend to read for fun when I am feeling very drained or stressed out. I usually pick up contemporaries when I am in the mood for just fun reading.

These books are a lot more easy going for me, and I usually fly through them pretty quickly. I don’t need to focus too much or think too hard while reading, which makes it an easy read. I love reading books for fun because it reminds me of how much I enjoy reading, and it helps it not turn into a chore.

These books tend to have a higher rating, because I just focus on my overall enjoyment, rather than all of the little details.

Both:

Finally, I read both critically and for fun at the same time- this is usually for ARCs and other books I plan to review. I want to read them for fun because I bought them for enjoyment purposes, but I also want to give a thorough and thoughtful review for you guys or the publishing company!

These book ratings tend to go either way- either high, low, or in the middle. I mix my feelings with the critical aspects of the book, so it really just depends on the book!

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Can you relate to any of these? Let me know in the comments how you read, whether it’s any of these or a different way!

Xo, Jess