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

my twitter followers choose what books i bring to college

I leave for college tomorrow! That is so scary but so exciting !!

If you follow my blog Twitter, which you can find here, then you may have seen the series of polls I tweeted asking you to choose between two books. I have been having such a hard time deciding on which books to bring to school with me since I won’t have a lot of room in my dorm. So, I narrowed down my list of books to 12- from those 12 you guys voted on 6 that I am going to take with me!

Now, this does not include the ebooks and audiobooks I am going to have on me at all times, plus I also have the libby app on my phone to borrow more if I need to. That’s why I was able to narrow it down to just bringing 6 physical books. Also, I only live about an hour away from my school, so I can go back home and switch these out periodically.

Maybe this will even become a series on my blog!

With all of that being said, let’s see what book you guys chose for me.

 

When We Collided vs The Way I Used to Be

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For this first one, I chose two contemporary novels I have been wanting to read for the longest time. You guys chose When We Collided for this one, which I am pretty happy with! I didn’t know which one I was leaning towards more for this one, so I was happy with either one. I honestly don’t even remember what When We Collided is about, so I can’t wait to read it!

Hopeless vs November 9

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This next poll was for two Colleen Hoover books! I was supposed to read November 9 for the booktube-a-thon, but I wasn’t feeling it then. You guys chose Hopeless, though, so I guess I won’t be reading November 9 for a while! I also didn’t have a preference for this poll, so it didn’t matter which one won to me!

The House vs Gerald’s Game

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These are two mystery/thriller books I have been dying to read. I want to bring both of these so bad, but they are sort of my thicker books, so they would take up too much space. Luckily, Twitter decided for me, and you guys chose The House! I have put this on many TBRs, so I am very excited to read it!

Joyride vs Your Voice is All I Hear

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This poll had a clear winner in my head, and I am happy that you guys chose that one! It was Joyride- so thanks for picking it! While both of these books interest me, I really wanted to bring Joyride with me!

Before I Fall vs Afterparty

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For this one, I was really hoping you guys would choose Afterparty, because it is a book that was on my TBR for a long time and I was getting in the mood to read it! It’s ok though, I have also wanted to read Before I Fall for equally as long, and I am sure I will enjoy it, too!

 1984 vs From a Low and Quiet Sea

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This is one that I am a little sad about the outcome. I was leaning more towards From a Low and Quiet Sea than 1984 just because it’s much thinner and more compact. Plus, I have the ARC of it that I still never read and I am obsessed with the edition (it’s a hardcover ARC that I won in a giveaway). I’ll (hopefully) bring it with me in my next rotation!

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Aside from these six, I am also bringing 3 poetry books that I have read but want to keep on hand for inspiration! Those were hard to choose as well… oops.

Thank you guys for choosing these for me! If you want to help choose the next books I bring, be sure to follow me on Twitter to see when I tweet more polls :)

Xo, Jess

To Be Honest Blog Tour | Review

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful day. Today I have brought to you a review of To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin thanks to the wonderful people of Xpresso Book Tours!

I have a lot to say about it, so let’s jump into it!

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

My Review:

The Pros:

I want to start off by saying, this book gives off such a powerful message! The main character, Savvy, does such an amazing job of talking about body positivity and showing that “fat isn’t a bad word.” I really appreciated how straight-forward and honest she was, and she wasn’t afraid to stand up to her mom about her weight.

Even with all of the pressures around her, she was happy in her own skin, which is something I really admired, because I know it can be so hard to love your body, no matter what size.

**However, there is a trigger warning for eating disorders/starving yourself to be careful of!!

Her mom was a really well written character, and she had my blood boiling at so many points (which is a good thing). I’m glad that her relationship with her mother was really developed, and it changed a lot from beginning to end.

I also really loved Savvy’s friendship with Grace, her long time best friend. Grace was always so supportive and helped Savvy grow as a person. Grace is the perfect example of the friend I want to be. She was always there for her, and gave amazing advice. She pushed Savvy to where she needed to be, without pushing her over the edge.

Something else I really enjoyed reading about was the journalism aspect. Savvy and Grace were both so passionate about this project that they worked on, and it was so fun to read about. It is something I could really relate to, so I just wish it was focused on a little bit more throughout the book.

The representation in this book is great, both with fat rep, LGBTQ+ rep, and even mental illness rep! I’m really glad it covered some important topics.

The Cons:

There were a few things that were kind of off putting to me, which made my rating go down a little bit for this book.

For one, the writing style was a bit simple for me, and oftentimes I found myself getting annoyed by it’s lack of variety in sentence structures and descriptions/phrases. Some of the same lines kept getting repeated over and over, rather than finding new ways to say them. For example, I think the phrase “his strawberry blonde hair” was used at least 5 times about the same character. I just wished this would have been edited a bit better.

Another thing that I didn’t like was the romance. It didn’t seem very real to me. The characters had a strange love-hate relationship that would switch randomly though out the book for no reason. I would have much preferred it if there was a slow build up to them liking each other, rather than the characters having huge mood swings.

I also wish that the relationship between Savvy and her sister was explored more, and didn’t look so one-sided. Her sister was there for her a lot, but only after Savvy expressed that she needed her. Her sister never called her asking how she was, or telling her about her day. Savvy always needed to reach out to her. The way that Savvy had described their relationship at the start was completely different from what it actually was. However, her friendship with Grace makes up for the lack of relationship here (at least for me).

Finally, some of the lingo used between the characters was very cringe-worthy at times. For example, phrases like “I heart it” or “sissy” were just very unnatural. I have never heard a teenager speak like that before.

Conclusion:

The cons that I have for this book are pretty small things. Personally, I could overlook some of the negative aspects of this book, and I ended up enjoying it a lot. It’s a quick read, and I enjoyed the plot a lot. I highly recommend this book, and I am probably going to pick up a finished copy soon!

Final Rating: 3.75/5 Stars ⭐️

Giveaway:

As part of the Blog Tour, all of the hosts are doing a giveaway! It is tour wide, and you can check out the link below for more information on how to enter.

Enter Here

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Let me know what you think of this book if you’ve read it! If not, you can purchase the book with any of these links!

Xo, Jess

writing update #2 | project X

So, my writing project officially has a name. For now, I am just going to be referring to it as Project X on here, but I came up with a title for it that I really love and I’m excited about. It could definitely still change, but right now, I really love it.

As far as actual updates, I actually haven’t really written anything else. Although I haven’t really added to my word count, I’m still working on the project! I’ve been doing some research about writing in general, and I have really been trying to work on my craft. Writing is something I really want to do, so it is imperative that I get better at it.

I’ve also been writing little snippets of stories in my journal, and I continue to work on my outline for this project. I tend to underwrite all of my first drafts, so I want to make sure I actually have enough content for my story.

I learned that I am definitely a plotter, and I can not imagine ever being a pantser (a person who doesn’t outline their novels, just jumps right into them). That sounds way too intimidating to me.

So, the novel is still in the works! I definitely plan to continue on with it, just experimenting and finding out what my writing style is exactly. This is definitely not going to be the book that gets me through the publishing doors, but it is necessary if I ever do want to step through.

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That’s all for now :)

Please let me know if you are currently working on some writing projects! I am looking for some writing friends that I can rant about the process to and that will help keep me motivated!

Good luck with your writing projects!

Xo, Jess

Book Bucket List- books i want to read before the year ends

I’ve mentioned this way too many times, but my physical TBR pile is so high right now. It is honestly overwhelming. I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to, but recently I’ve been working on it! So, I made myself a “book bucket list” for the rest of the year.

These are all books that I already own and want to read before the year ends. My ultimate goal is to read all of these before buying any new books! We’ll see how that goes though.

I’m just going to list the books without talking about them though, because there are 20 on this list and the post would drag on forever!

 

_ Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

_ Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

_ The Diviners by Libba Bray

_ Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

_ Beholding Bee by Kimberly Fusco

_ Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

_ November 9 by Colleen Hoover

_ Afterparty by Ann Stampler

_ Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

_ Roomies by Sara Zarr

 

_ Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

_ Joyride by Anna Banks

_ My Lady Jane by the Lady Janies

_ My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies

_ Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

_ When We Collided by Emery Lord

_ Dreamology by Lucy Keating

_ Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

_ Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

_ The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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This list is long, and I am not very confident that I will finish all of these, especially since I’m starting my freshman year of college in 2 weeks! But, I will try nonetheless.

Wish me luck!

Also, let me know which books on this list I should get to first!

Xo, Jess

booktube-a-thon wrap-up

I can’t believe the booktube-a-thon is over already. I had such a fun time for my first year of this read-a-thon, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I did not successfully complete all of the challenges, and I didn’t end up sticking to my TBR, but I did well.

I read 5 books in total, which you might have seen if you follow me on my blog Twitter.

In my original TBR post, I said that my goal was to read at least 3 books, so I did pretty well, considering my low expectations! I’m not usually great with read-a-thons, but I really wanted to try hard for this one, and I’m proud of myself.

Let’s just get on with what books I read!

The Books:

 

Thin Space by Jody Casella

This book completed the challenge of letting a coin toss decide your first read. It was a little disappointing as my first booktube-a-thon read because I only gave it 2/5 stars. I did not relate to any of the characters, and I found it difficult to get into this book. I thought the plot twist at the end was really interesting, but the first 100+ pages of the book were just too slow (and the book is less than 300 pages).

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

This is the second book I finished during this week, but it was not part of my TBR. It’s a re-read that I started before booktube-a-thon began, but I finished it once it started. If you are new to my blog, then you wouldn’t know that this is one of my all time favorite books ever. The re-read just confirmed my love for it, and I can not wait to see more from Tamara. I can count this book for the “read a book about something you want to do” challenge because I would love to be part of a poet’s club like the main character is a part of!

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I read this for the first time a few years ago and loved it, but I couldn’t remember much. This time around, I listened to it as an audiobook, and it was such a great experience! I really loved it and gave it 5/5 stars. Right after, I watched the movie (and completed the challenge of reading and watching a book to movie adaptation), which was just as good. This book is super dark but really interesting and heartbreaking.

 

By Your Side by Kasie West

This book was just on the list to complete the challenge of “read 7 books.” Clearly, that did not happen. I could move this one to the “read a book with a beautiful spine” challenge instead. Initially, I did not think I was going to like this book because I thought it was going to just be a super fluffy read with no depth. I was wrong about that. There are so many heavy topics discussed in this book which I really appreciated, and it ended up being so much more than I expected. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

Girls Resist by KaeLyn Rich

This is another that wasn’t on my TBR, but I wanted to finish it before the book came out! Thank you to Quirk Books for being kind enough to send me this book! I loved it so so much, and I am so happy that I got to read it. It is super informative, and I think every girl needs this guide in her life. I know I will refer back to it from time to time :) I gave it 5/5 stars, and I can count it towards the challenge of “reading a book with green on the cover.”

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I had such a great booktube-a-thon! I am so happy with how I did, even if I didn’t complete all of the challenges. Did you participate? How did you do?

Xo, Jess