poetry collection #5 // Blogmas Day 13

I’ve been extremely into poetry recently, so I thought I’d share some more of it on here (even though I just did recently).

If you didn’t check out the last installment of this series, you can click here to do so.

I revealed that I started a poetry instagram account on that post, so if you want to follow it, you can do that here :)

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Please let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you write poetry, please feel free to share it with me, too!

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2019 Reading Goals // Blogmas Day 12

2018 has been a weird year. It simultaneously felt like the longest and shortest year ever. There were so many ups (I graduated high school, went to prom, my first Bookcon, started college, I moved, etc), but there were also a few downs.

But now we’re moving onto a new year, which always brings hope and promise of better, exciting things.

For today’s post, I wanted to create a list of my reading goals for the upcoming year because I didn’t really follow any this year, and I thought it would be fun! It will also be fun to look back on them at the end of the year and see if I am still following any!

Read more diverse books

This first one is something that I already try to do whenever I can, but it’s definitely something I want to continue to do in 2019 and incorporate more of. I’m hoping that at least 40-50% of the books I read have a diverse aspect to them in 2019, which is definitely doable.

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Read one e-book a month

I recently purchased an Amazon tablet, so I want to make sure I get plenty of use out of it. I have been reading a lot of e-books recently, so this shouldn’t be a problem at all. I definitely have way over 12 e-books currently, and I really want to get the number down.

Don’t buy any books (5 freebies)

I’m trying to go for a ‘no-buy nineteen’ because I own way too many books that haven’t been read yet, and I definitely have enough to get me through the year. To give you an idea, I have over 90 books on my owned TBR, and I usually read about 60 books in a year. That means I have plenty of options for books.

I am going to allow myself 5 freebies though, because I want to be able to read some 2019 releases, and sometimes you just have to have a book, you know? For the most part though, I will only be reading books I already own.

Narrow physical TBR down to < 50 books

This goes along with the last one, but I really want to narrow my TBR down to less than 50 books. I miss the times when I would finish a book and then go to the bookstore to pick out my next one.

Although I’m not allowed to buy any books in 2019, I am still allowed to go to the library or borrow books on the Libby app- which is why this is a separate goal. You’d think that the two would be put together, but it’s possible for me not to buy any books but still not decrease my TBR.

Read one ARC a month

I have a ton of unread ARCs that I thought I would get to ASAP, but somehow they all piled up and now they are overwhelming and stressful. I plan on reading at least one a month (hopefully more), so that I can finish all of them by the end of the year. In fact, I am dedicating February to reading as many ARCs as I can because I really want to finish them all and get rid of the guilt hanging over me.

Read one book a week (52 total books)

I have read over 50 books a year for the past 2 years, so this one shouldn’t be a problem for me. For 2018, I set my reading challenge to 1 so that I would focus on quality over quantity, and I think I did that pretty well.

But, this year I want to set a reasonable goal that I know I can accomplish easily so that it is not stressful and will still allow me to read for quality.

Read at least 3 non-fiction books

I used to love reading memoirs, biographies, and other non-fiction stories. It stemmed from my desire to learn. I miss reading non-fiction, so I want to read some more of it this year. While I hope to read more than 3 NF books, I want to give myself an easy goal that I can easily accomplish.

Unhaul at least 5 books

I have a serious problem with collecting/hoarding books. There are some books that were sent to me by publishers or given to me as gifts that are duplicates of books I already have, and yet I never get rid of them. I feel like each book is a part of my soul, and giving them away is taking a part of me with them.

But, I know that I do not need all of the books I have, especially if I hated them/have multiple copies of them. I will try to donate/give away at least 5 this year (I know that sounds so easy, but it’s hard for me, ok?).

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Let me know what your goals for 2019 are! I’d love to hear :)

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2018 anticipated reads i didn’t get to // Blogmas Day 11

So many amazing books came out this year, but I unfortunately wasn’t able to get to that many of them. I’m going to give you a guys a list of five that hopefully I can get to in 2019!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I love John Green. I’ve talked about so many of his books before, and I’m sure you all know how I feel by now. Obviously I want to pick up Hank’s debut novel, too! I’m positive it’s going to be just as amazing, and possibly a new favorite of mine as well! I’ve heard nothing but good things, and I am so excited about it.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

I purchased this book recently because everyone has been talking about it, and it sounds right up my alley. The synopsis is so interesting, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And apparently the ending will make me WEEP which is what I need right now. I plan on reading it early in 2019.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

This book is a romance that I’ve heard nothing but good things about. I have been in a romance mood recently, and so I hope to get to this early in 2019. Everyone loves Christina Lauren books (if you don’t know, it’s two co-authors), and I own another one of their books but haven’t gotten around to it yet either. I’m terrible and my TBR pile is huge, sorry.

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker

This is a poetry collection by Alice Walker that not many people have talked about. I am a huge fan of poetry though, and I would absolutely love to read this ASAP. Alice Walker is the author of The Color Purple (which I have not read but also really want to), and everyone who’s read it loves that book. I feel like her poetry would just be so beautiful.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

I haven’t read a lot of YA mysteries/thrillers but I really want to give them a chance. Something has drawn me to this book since I first heard of it, and I really want to read it. Again, I’ve heard many good things, and I just feel like I’ll really like it.

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Please leave a comment letting me know if you’ve read any of these books and which one I should get to ASAP! See you tomorrow :)

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Winter Reads Recs! // Blogmas Day 10

I feel like Christmas cozy time is perfect for cute, fluffy contemporaries. I know many people like to read fantasy at this time, but I’m more of a Hallmark movie type of girl.

Today I’m going to give you guys five contemporary recommendations (they’re not related to Christmas) that I feel would be great for this time of year!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This is the PERFECT winter read. It involves baking, love triangles, and super cute family relationships. What more could you want in a book? I’m sure almost all of you have already read this, or at least watched the movie, but I still feel like it’s a great re-read at this time of year.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

This next one just screams winter time to me. I just read this book a few months ago, but it was the first one that came to mind for me when writing out this list. If you haven’t read it- you should. It’s not the most life-changing or best written story ever, but for some reason I just felt so connected to it, and I really liked it. Also, I just love John Green (unpopular opinion, I know).

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

This book is all about friendship, and I think it’s so important. Tamara Ireland Stone is such an incredible author. I just love all of the work she puts out. This one just made me feel so warm and happy- I highly recommend it.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Another fluffy, cozy read that I fell in love with when I read it. I didn’t like We Are Okay by Nina which was a little disappointing for me because of how much I loved this one. Just pick it up, okay?

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett has become one of my favorite authors of the year. In 2018 I read 3 of her 5 books (two of which were ARCs), and I fell in love every single time. I can not recommend her enough. This book is about camping and being outdoors, and the winter/fall time is when I relate to nature the most for some reason. If you don’t pick up any other books on this list, at least check this one out!

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I hope you guys end up picking one of these up this holiday season! They really are great reads :)

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More 5 Star Predictions // Blogmas Day 9

I made this post a little while ago, and it was a lot of fun! It’s interesting to look back on and see whether you made correct predictions or not. I haven’t read all of the books on that initial list, but once I do, I will definitely do an update post to let you know how close I was!

Here are 5 more books that I believe I will give 5 stars to, and that I’m so excited to read soon :)

 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I got this book a while ago, and I’ve been dying to read it for ages! I definitely think I’m going to love it, but it’s really long which makes it a bit intimidating for me. I am the worst at starting big books, which is why I don’t bother buying many of them that often to begin with! I am determined to get to this one soon, though!

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

I love Lauren Graham. She is the sweetest person ever, she’s so funny, and she’s such a talented actress. I read her memoire and I absolutely adored it. I loved everything about her writing style, and I’m sure that most of that is similar to this novel. I’ve owned the e-book for such a long time, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I’m planning on getting to it early on in the new year!

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This book gets so much hype, but I’m sure it’s for good reason. I’ve only seen a couple of people say they didn’t like it, and even then they still gave it around 3 stars. I’m not a huge fantasy reader to begin with (I’m surprised I have to fantasy novels on my list), but I really think I’m going to love this one.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

This is a book I just bought recently and was featured in my last haul! I am so excited to read it because I have been loving thrillers/mysteries recently. I know so many booktubers who have recommended this one, so I have really high hopes for it. I will be super disappointed if I don’t enjoy it.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I also hauled this one a few days ago, and I am so so excited about it. If I don’t give this one 5 stars then I will probably stop reading for a good 2 weeks because I want to love this so bad. I am obsessed with Summer Bird Blue by Akemi, and if this one is even 1/4 like that, then I know I will love it.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your ratings were :)

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November Wrap-Up // Blogmas Day 8

Everyone in the book community seemed to be having a really bad reading month at the start of November, while I was flying through books so quickly. The beginning of my month was great (reading wise) and then slowly it started to get worse and worse.

I still managed to get 7 books in, which I’m really pleased with!

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

I picked this book up (finally) because I was in a bit of a slump, and needed something quick and fluffy to pull me out of that. That is exactly what it did. It was cute, and I enjoyed following the story. I’m not sure yet if I will continue on with the series, but it left on a cliffhanger and I want to know the rest, so I might one day. The writing wasn’t the best, but this book was exactly what I needed.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

This was a buddy read I did that month, and it was a wild ride. It started off super slow and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had originally hoped. But, by the middle, I found myself intrigued by the plot, and I enjoyed the ending enough. I also hated all of the characters, but in a good way. They were all horrible and evil, but I sort of liked that. Definitely not my favorite mystery/thriller, but it was decent.

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Wow. After the last book, this one was just flawless. I enjoyed it so so much, and I definitely want to re-read it soon. I listened to the audiobook and I was just so invested in the story, I couldn’t stop listening. I am a sucker for character driven stories, and this is exactly what this one was. It was just incredible, and the plot twists were so good. Might be one of my favorite thrillers right now.

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

After reading Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was a little hesitant about picking up more books by Becky. I wasn’t really a fan of Simon (but I LOVED the movie). I decided to give her a chance anyways, and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely adored this book. It was so pure and real, and it just made my heart happy. I literally listened to the whole audiobook in like a day, I just couldn’t stop.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Obviously, I’ve been in a huge mystery/thriller mood, and I wanted to pick this book up before the movie that comes out at the end of this month! It was incredible. I loved it and was so hooked from beginning to end. The concept was so amazing, and I wanted so much more. It’s a short book, so I read it fairly quickly, but I wish there was more to it, because I was definitely not done.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m not going to say much about this book- it was a requirement for class, so I never give my opinion on these.

Rating: N/A

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

The last book that I picked up was Radio Silence and it was an incredible way to end the month. I know so many people adore this book, and I really wanted to read a book by Alice Oseman. I own I Was Born For This, too, so I definitely want to get to it ASAP after reading this one. I loved the character development and the storyline. It was so unique but really interesting.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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That’s it for the books I read this month! Let me know if you’ve read any and what your opinions are. I’d love to hear them :) See you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 9!

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Summer Bird Blue- Book Review // Blogmas day 7

I recently read Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman and I think it’s safe to say it is in my top 3 favorite books of the year. It was just so. good.

I haven’t done a book review in a pretty long time, so I thought this was way overdue.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

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My Review:

This book is just simply beautiful. There’s really no other way to describe it.

I felt so connected to Rumi and I wanted to just give her a hug and tell her that everything was going to be okay. Akemi’s writing is honestly a masterpiece. She knows how to hit you in all the right places, and I definitely cried from this one.

It’s a character driven story, so if you’re looking for action and excitement, you’re not going to get that here. Character driven novels are my favorite though because you truly connect and understand all of the people in the story. They are the books that most often make me feel something. That’s exactly how I felt with Rumi. She taught me so much about love and grief and just being a better person. I want to be her friend.

It delves really deep into grief and dealing with loss in such a raw way. I felt like I was reading poetry, not prose, because the writing was just so lyrical. It flowed so nicely, and each chapter connected really well.

Aside from Rumi, all of the other characters were so well written. Each one was so unique and important to the story. I really fell in love with all of them, and they are each so dear to me. You watched as they struggled, too because they wanted to help Rumi but didn’t know how, and it was almost painful. I don’t have too much experience with death, but Rumi helped me to understand grief much better.

Also, it has such great representation- Throughout the novel (on top of dealing with the death of her sister), Rumi is also discovering her sexuality, and she ultimately identifies as aro/ace.

The whole story was heartbreaking but so beautifully done, and nothing comes close to this one to me.

I don’t think I will ever forget this book. I loved the story so much, and I’m going to hold it very close to my heart.

Rating:

5/5 stars (duh!)

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Please leave a comment letting me know if you’ve read this book or not! I would love to hear your thoughts :)

And if you haven’t, you should definitely pick it up!

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How to Ace Your Exams // Blogmas day 6

They’re here. Those dreaded finals. I have no idea how they managed to sneak up on us so quickly, but they did. Now, all that’s left to do is study, and hope that things turn out okay!

To make things a tiny bit easier (hopefully), I have compiled some of my favorite study tips and habits that I use into one post for you guys. The goal is that they help you out a bit, so that finals don’t seem too daunting.

Make a schedule

Write down when all of your exams are onto a calendar. Then, fill in what days you’re going to study for them. Now make sure you stick to it. College exams are hard. Most of the time, you can not cram all of the information into one night and do well on the test. It’s just not possible. So, start by studying a little bit at a time, every day for at least a couple of days leading up to the exam. Also, getting things done ahead of time, likes essays and projects, helps a lot, too! It gives you more time to focus on studying once exam week comes around.

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Keep a to-do list

I absolutely love to-do lists, in case you didn’t know by the amount of times I’ve mentioned them in previous posts. They just help me feel so organized and productive. The feeling of checking off everything on your list can’t be beat.

Recently, my obsession has been the Lightspeed Planner! It simplifies to-do lists by giving your three things to focus on each day (one thing that you must do, one you should do, and one you could do). This way you can easily prioritize your main tasks for the day, and break down bigger goals into easy, manageable steps.

For example, I have a three part assignment due for one of my classes, so for the must do section, I wrote the first part as my goal for the day. I focused mainly on accomplishing that task, and then the next day I put the next step of the assignment down, etc.

Find what works for you

Everyone has a different way of learning. The things I do to study may not work for you. It’s important to figure out what kind of learner you are, so that you can adapt different studying techniques to best suit you.

I am a visual learner, so I like to include lots of pictures/diagrams in my notes, and I use colorful pens and highlighters. It’s just what works best for me. But I am definitely not someone who can learn by listening. So, watching youtube videos of people discussing the topic does not help me at all.

Study Guides are your best friend

I know that I just said to find out what’s best for you, but I am a huge believer in creating study guides, so I just have to include this. I feel like study guides are so useful, not matter what type of learner you are!

If you learn by writing, you can make a handwritten study guide, and it will help you retain the information.

If you learn using visuals, you can create a study guide online and include lots of pictures and charts.

If you learn through listening, you can have someone read your study guide out lot to you.

If you learn orally, you can read it out loud yourself, or have someone quiz you on the information.

Study guides are just great, I promise.

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These are all of the tips I have for you guys today! I hope that at least one of them was helpful for you, and maybe you’ll take something away from this post!

Also, feel free to leave your own tips down below. Maybe they will help someone else out.

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Why I started Blogging // Blogmas Day 5

It’s crazy to me that I started blogging (seriously) a little over three years ago. Time really does fly. I still remember when I first created my website, and the thrill of all of the new possibilities ahead of me gave me goosebumps. Back then, this site was not called Kisses From Jess (I honestly can’t even remember the very first name of it), and my posts were mainly fashion and beauty related.

Today, we are here at Kisses From Jess, a name that stuck for about two years now (after some heavy rebranding), and I write about books and writing- things I am truly passionate about.

These past three years have been full of ups and downs, and I have changed, learned, grown so much despite it all.

I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the reasons I began blogging in the first place because it was a decision that truly changed my life.

I needed a creative outlet

So, before this blog, I actually gave Youtube a shot. Many of the friends I met online had Youtube channels, and I used to watch other content creator’s videos constantly. I thought it was perfect. But I quickly discovered that Youtube was not for me. I did it for about a year, and then I quit.

But I was feeling so restless. I needed to put my creative energy into something else, now that I wasn’t filming and editing videos. I’ve thought about blogging before, and I had a Tumblr account back in the day that I was on constantly. So I figured, why not give it a try?

I love to write and wanted to explore this passion

I also thought of blogging over other things because I love to write. I have been creating stories and writing poems for as long as I can remember, and English was always my favorite subject.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do more of, and eventually share it with the world! Blogging allowed me to do just that. Now, I share a lot of my poetry on here, and I even post writing updates on books I’m writing (how crazy is that?!).

To develop new relationships and meet new people

Finally, I wanted to meet likeminded people that I could connect with. It’s hard to find people in real life that are as passionate as me about writing and reading and all of the other things I post about.

I attended a Vo-Tech high school where the focus was on studying medicine and health. I realized that is something I no longer want to pursue in freshman year. I was surrounded by people who were passionate about studying medicine, while I was more interested in creating new stories.

Blogging allowed me to meet so many amazing people who I now call my friends. I really don’t know where I’d be without the support of so many of these people.

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That is it for my little post today. I hope you found this inspiring, and maybe it will make you want to start your own blog! As always, feel free to leave any comments down below, I love reading all of them :)

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poetry collection #4 // Blogmas Day 4

Sooo.

I made a poetry account!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you would know that I love to write poetry, and it’s something that I’ve been doing for a while. I’ve shared my work here in the past, and I will continue to do so from time to time, but I wanted to take it more seriously.

One of my life goals is to publish a book, and more specifically, I would love to publish a poetry collection. I want to work on my craft and actually share the pieces I’m proud of more often.

If you would like to follow it, click here! I will be posting multiple times a week, and it is something I really hope you guys will enjoy.

I tried to be pretty unique with my theme, and so far, I’m loving it! Let me know what you think :)

Here are the first two posts, if you want to get a bit of a sense of what it looks like!

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I hope you guys enjoy these poems and consider following my new account. It would mean so much to me :) Have a beautiful day!

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