how i annotate books

I write in my books.

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I think you all know that by now because I talk about it often. I think it is so important, especially as a book reviewer because it really allows you to connect with the novel. You can be critical while still following and enjoying the book. It also makes a book more unique and special. It’s like having a conversation with the characters. I know that in the future it will be so fun to look back on and read through the pages.

How I do it:

What I Use-

  1. black pen!!
  2. 4 highlighter colors
  3. post-it notes (diff sizes)
  4. post-it tabs

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The Process-

  • I use a black pen to write in the books
    • typically this involves little comments to respond to dialogue
    • I also write comments about problematic parts of books
    • Sometimes at the end of each chapter, I write little summaries or thoughts I had about them
  • The 4 highlighters are what I use to really get analytical
    • yellow- important scenes
    • pink- love/romance
    • green- favorite quotes
    • blue- things to mention in review
  • Post-it notes
    • I use the post-it notes when I have more to say than can fit on the page
    • sometimes I want to write a couple sentences down but there is no room so I write it on the post-it
    • I do not use these too often
  • Post-it tabs
    • These correspond to my highlighters
    • I put them in when I highlight a part so that I can easily flip to the different sections without skimming through each page

Here are some examples of pages in my books: (not all of the pictures follow my current system)

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That is basically it to how I annotate! I hope this post was helpful.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them down below. Do you annotate in your books? Let me know how!

xo, Jessica

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the book blogger test

Hello everyone! I am here with a book tag today because I haven’t done one in a really long time. I wasn’t tagged to do this but it seemed like fun so I just couldn’t resist! I’m not sure who the original creator of this tag is, but I saw it over on Drizzle and Hurricane Books.

The Questions

Describe your perfect reading spot:

I would love to have a comfy seat in a corner of a room near a window. It would need lots of pillows and a big comfy blanket. Currently, I just read in my bed, but I would love to have a spot like this in the future.

Tell us 3 book confessions:

  1. I write in my books- Please don’t hate me!!
  2. I read multiple books at a time
  3. I get in reading slumps pretty often

When was the last time a book made you cry?

I believe it was Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. That book really touched me and I fell in love with it. The parts where Aza has thought spirals was really difficult to read and it made me so upset.

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How many books are on your bedside table?

Surprisingly, it is only 1 right now. It is usually 2 or 3, but I cleaned my room and moved some from there. The book is This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.

What’s your favorite snack to eat while you read?

I rarely ever eat while reading, but I would have to go with pretzels or cheez-its. I prefer to have something to drink, like tea, lemonade, or hot chocolate.

Name 3 books you would recommend to everyone:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- hands down my favorite book
  2. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour- definitely recommend this
  3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber- it was a quick but amazing read

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase:

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This one is my favorite because I went with a blue theme for the shelf. It is one of my two TBR shelves so I haven’t read any of the books on it. I just really like how it looks.

Describe how much books mean to you in just 3 words:

Can’t live without.

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And that’s the end of the tag! I hope you enjoyed it :)

I’m going to tag a few people down below, but anyone can do this tag!

I tag…

xo, Jessica

Review: By a Charm and a Curse

I was sent an advanced copy of the book in order to review it for a blog tour.

I haven’t done a review in what feels like forever! I knew I wanted to participate in the blog tour of this book because the description is so interesting! Check it out below:

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Synopsis (Netgalley):

A kiss is never just a kiss.

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

After reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber last year, I have been dying to pick up another carnival-related book.

This one was the perfect choice.

The beginning is a little slow, but the pace picks up a few chapters in. The humor is a little different than what I am used to in my YA books, but I loved it a lot. The writing flows really well, almost like a poem. I really appreciated how easy to read it was. Often times in fantasy novels, I get confused by all the extravagant words, especially in the world-building. This was easy to follow along with.

The characters were also really relatable. I loved Emma a lot because of how sweet she was. Although she was in a tough position, she always strived to do what is right.

The romance was also done very well in this novel. It wasn’t too lovey-dovey or too heavy. The relationship didn’t take anything away from the plot, which I liked.

Overall, if you were a fan of Caraval or The Night Circus, I would highly recommend this book! The setting/world was just amazing, and the storyline was great. It was a really enjoyable read for me and I can’t wait to buy the finished physical copy.

rating: 4/5 stars

xo, Jessica

Contemporary-A-Thon TBR

I recently came across a video announcing the contemporary-a-thon and I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I am a huge contemporary fan, and this is a great way to get some more reading in. I will probably only get through 2, maybe 3 books but I want to try anyways.

The Hosts:
Pages and Pens
My Reading is Odd
Chelsea Dolling Reads

The challenges:

1. Read the most recent contemporary that you purchased/acquired

2. Read a contemporary book with pink on the cover

3. Read a hyped contemporary book

4. Read a diverse contemporary book

5. Read a dark/taboo contemporary

6. Read a contemporary(ish) graphic novel

7. Read a contemporary book that has been recommended to you

My TBR:

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True Believer- Nicholas Sparks (1&2)

I just purchased this about a week or two ago when I went to Barnes and Noble with my friend. We both picked up Nicholas Sparks books because neither of us have read any before. The cover of this one is more of a purple-ish color, but it is the closest to pink I have so I am counting it!

This Adventure Ends- Henry Holt (3)

I have heard nothing but great things about this book, so I am excited to finally get around to reading it. It was pretty hyped on Goodreads and Twitter, so I have high expectations going into it.

Also can we talk about the beautiful cover

My Heart and other Black Holes (4)

I believe this book deals with depression and anxiety, making it a diverse read. I am prepared for heartache because this does deal with some heavy topics. I accidentally read a spoiler for this book, so I know it will make me cry.

Trigger Warning: Suicide

The Summer I turned Pretty- Jenny Han (7)

This book was recommended to me such a long time ago but I only recently acquired it. I am so excited to read it because I love Jenny Han’s writing. I really hope I love it as much as I loved the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy.


 

I know my TBR is pretty short, but with school everyday, I don’t have as much time to read as I would like. These books satisfy 5/7 of the challenges, so to me, that would be a success.

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Let me know if you are participating down in the comments below! I would love to hear what books you have on your TBR for this read-a-thon.

xo, jessica

10 bookish facts about me

Today’s post is one that I have been meaning to write for a very long time. I love reading posts like this because you learn a lot about the person who wrote it. I hope some of you can relate to these facts, and I’m not alone in them.

I write in my books

I love to annotate and make little comments in my books. It makes them more unique in my opinion, and it helps me remember the book better. Let me know if you want a post about how I annotate!

I have close to 50 books on my owned TBR pile

I clearly have a problem. I need to stop buying books because I own way too many that I haven’t read yet. I tried going on a ban but it just never works for me.

I love audiobooks a lot

I never used to listen to audiobooks until the summertime, and now I am obsessed. I’ve listened to about 10 so far, and I just discovered overdrive so I know I will be listening to more soon.

I am awful at sticking to monthly TBRs because I am a mood reader

I used to force myself to read the books I put on my monthly TBRs, but now I don’t even make lists anymore. I just pick up whatever book I am in the mood for next.

My favorite genres are mysteries/thrillers and contemporary YA

I have always loved crime movies and tv-shows, so naturally that carried over to my reading. I don’t read a lot of mysteries or thrillers, but I am slowly beginning to. Contemporaries have always been at the top of my list, just because I love relating to the characters.

I can’t eat while reading but I love to have tea or hot cocoa

If i eat while reading, it just becomes a mess. I can’t do both at the same time, and it messes up my flow. I prefer just having some tea with me.

I am not really a fan of fantasy

Please don’t hate me for this one. I know fantasy is huge in the book community, but I am just not that big on it. I read fantasy occasionally and I usually end up loving the book, but I don’t pick it up often.

I need to read to the end of the chapter, I can’t stop in the middle

I know I am not alone on this one. I really hate stopping a book in the middle of a chapter. I only do it if I really have to. I almost always read to the end of the chapter.

I’ve only been to two book signings

They were both so amazing. One was for Connor Franta’s first book- A Work in Progress. The second one was for Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collection, The Princess Saves Herself in This One. The experiences are unforgettable, and hopefully I will be able to attend more in the future.

I have read 5 books in 2018 so far

I am off to an okay start. I was hoping to to read 6-8 books, but I am still happy with the number. My reading goal for this year was set to 1 book, mostly because I want to focus on reading quality books, rather than looking at the quantity of books. So I have reached my goal already.

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What are some bookish facts about you? Let me know in the comments! If you’ve done a post like this before, link it below as well.

xo, Jessica

popular books i haven’t read

Many of you are going to be shocked that I haven’t read some of these books yet, but please don’t be offended! There are so many books that I have been dying to read, but with my TBR list constantly growing, it would be impossible to get to them all.

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The Sun is Also a Star

This book hasn’t been out for too long, so that is my excuse for not reading it yet. I swear I will get to it soon because it sounds really good. I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and I really enjoyed it. I just have too many books to read right now and this is not at the top of my list.

Heartless

I am not a huge fan of fantasy books to begin with, so that is why I never really got around to reading this. It has been on my TBR list for a really long time but I don’t know if I will ever even read it. I don’t really have the desire to anymore.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Out of the 5 books on this list, this one is at the top of my priority reads. I can’t believe that I still haven’t purchased a copy of this book. I need to get around to it really soon because I don’t want to watch the movie until I read it.

Eleanor and Park

I used to want to read this so bad back when everyone was extremely obsessed about it. However, I am not really interested in reading this or any of Rainbow Rowell’s books anymore (sorry don’t be mad at me).

The Night Circus

I have heard about this book for such a long time now on Booktube and book blogs. Especially during the time that Caraval was hyped, everyone was talking about it. I really enjoyed Caraval and everyone compared it to this book, so I know I want to check it out soon.

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Did any of these books surprise you? Let me know if I absolutely need to read any of these books on the list!

xo, Jessica

my favorite underrated books!

The book community hypes up so many novels and I often find myself only reading the books that are trending. That being said, I never read any books outside of that small circle of highly popular ones.

This is so sad to me.

There are so many amazing books that people just don’t know about so they never read. Before social media was a huge part of my life, I would go to the library or the bookstore and just read the inside flaps of books to see what they were about. That was how I picked books to read. Now I don’t even know what the books I own are about at all, I just know I have heard about them online.

Today I want to recommend some of my favorite underrated books!

Talking as Fast as I Can- Lauren Graham

This one I’m sure many of you have heard of, especially if you are a Gilmore Girls fan like me! I adored Lauren’s writing style so much, and hearing her read the words made the experience so much better. It really made me fall more in love with her, and I am so glad I got to read this.

Everything You Want Me to Be- Mindy Mejia

I got this book in a subscription box and at first I was a little skeptical. However, I really ended up enjoying the book, and I am so glad I read it. It is full of twists and really interesting characters.

Sanctuary Bay- Laura J. Burns

This book was so good. I remember being completely shocked by every page. I would love to read a sequel to this book because I really miss the world and characters. Definitely give it a try.

Confess- Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is a popular author. This book does not get a lot of attention though, which is unfortunate. I enjoyed it so much, as I do all of her books. It was also a really quick read for me. I’ve even gotten many of my friends to check it out as well.

7300 Days- Isabella Mente

This is such an underrated poetry book. Isabella deserves way more recognition than she gets, and I will back her on any of her projects. She is also such a sweetheart and I love talking to her. If you are a poetry fan, check out this book because it is so beautiful.

Every Last Word- Tamara Ireland Stone

I think I have talked about this book a total of 7 times at least on this blog, but it is one of my all time favorites. I felt really connected to it and I loved the plot twist. I genuinely didn’t see it coming. I plan on re-reading this book in 2018.

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Please leave some of your favorite non-hyped books down in the comments! I am always looking for new books to read.

xo, Jessica

top 10 books of 2017

2017 was a really amazing reading year for me, and while I am sad for it to be over, I am also really excited to see how well 2018 goes for me! I read so many great books, so narrowing this book down was extremely difficult! But, I have done it, and here are my top 10 books of the year!

10. Never Never

I absolutely love Colleen Hoover, and I have read so many of her books (and I own so many more). I read this e-book towards the beginning of the year, and while it is really short, it was so fascinating. I haven’t gotten to part 2 or 3 yet (I have no excuse), but just the first part was enough to make me fall in love. Hopefully I will get to the other 2 very soon!

9. Eighteen Years

I just recently finished reading this but it was a great collection of poetry! I wanted to read it for such a long time and then I finally got around to it. It was so emotional and strong.

8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean

This is the finally book in the trilogy, and it was my favorite. It was such a great way to end the story of Lara Jean. I fell in love with the characters even more, and it was so sad to think that it was going to be over. I really enjoyed the book, mostly because the series was really important to me.

7. Caraval

Coming in at number 7 is this widely known book! I absolutely loved reading it and I was so fascinated the entire time. The plot twist was crazy, and the world was so interesting. I am glad I decided to read it, even though it’s not something I would normally pick up.

6. Illuminae

This is another book that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards but I got it for a really good price online. I was a bit confused by it when I first started it, but soon I was completely hooked. I absolutely need to read the second book, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I highly recommend giving it a try because the style was so unique.

5. The Princess Saves Herself in this One

This was the first book I finished in 2017, and it set my year off on a good start. When I think of poetry, this is the book that comes to mind. Since reading it in January, I now own a total of 3 copies (all signed) and I have read it twice. The poetry is amazing, the author (Amanda Lovelace) is so sweet, and the message is empowering. I suggest this book to everyone and I talk about it so often.

4. Talking as Fast as I Can

If you love the show Gilmore Girls (like I do), then you have to read this book! It is written by Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and it is an autobiography. She talks all about the show in a comedic way, as well as different events in her life. It was so interesting to listen to (I got the audiobook) especially in her voice.

3. Everything Leads to You

This book really showed me a different side of the film industry that I hadn’t thought about in the past, so it was so interesting to learn about. The entire story was also really cute. I will probably be re-reading this soon, too.

2. The Hate U Give

I’m sure you have already heard about this book, but if you haven’t, you need to go read it right now. It was so POWERFUL. It really took my breath away. The story is very relevant to the world right now and deals with race issues (black lives matter movement). I think this needs to be read by everyone, and it would be a great book to read at school.

1. Turtles All the Way Down

This is John Green’s latest novel, and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was such a relief to read a book that accurately portrayed OCD and anxiety. People often think I am exaggerating when my compulsions get the best of me, but they are true. I wish I could hand all of my friends this book to read in order to understand me better. I often don’t know how to phrase my own anxieties, but he did it in the perfect way.

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What were some of your favorite books of the year? I would love to know! Leave it down in the comments :)

xo, Jessica

17 things i learned being 17

On November 15th, I turned 18. That is INSANE to me. I am officially an adult. This past year has been all about growing and learning for me. I have definitely changed as a person, friend, writer, blogger, and student. Not only did I get my license, but I also started my first official job, finished my college applications (and even got some acceptances back already), and so much more. I know that I will continue to grow everyday, but I wanted to do this post so that you guys can hear some of my advice (no matter what age).

  1. take care of your body.
  2. do what makes YOU happy
  3. it’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out
  4. crying does not make you weak!!
  5. not everyone is meant to stay in your life
  6. be kind to everyone
  7. mistakes are okay
  8. don’t be afraid to show people you care
  9. write everyday
  10. you can say “no” without making up excuses
  11. get off of your phone sometimes
  12. don’t be so negative all the time
  13. don’t let the little things bother you
  14. embrace the future, don’t let it scare you
  15. you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself
  16. stay humble
  17. you are doing just fine

Each of these little lessons/reminders have helped me live a less anxious and happier life. I struggled a lot at the beginning of the year with anxiety and stress, but these tips were really useful. I hope you keep these in mind, and I hope they help you out!

xo, Jessica

Turtles All The Way Down- Review

As you may have heard, John Green’s new book, Turtles All The Way Down, came out on October 10th. I was extremely excited to read it, because I have loved previous books by him.

I purchased the audiobook and began listening to that a few days after the release. Before I could even get 1/4 of the way through, I knew I had to own the physical copy. On Tuesday, I bought a signed edition from Target, and having it in my hands made me feel so much closer to it. I could actually see the words he had written, and it made the whole experience even better for me.

Goodreads synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

My review:

I immediately fell in love with this book. This was the first book that I truly felt connected to the main character of a novel. I could relate to so many of the thoughts she had and it helped me make sense of my mind. The way John phrased Aza’s anxiety is the best description I have read. It really coincided with my own anxiety, and I could not be more grateful for this novel.

It really focuses on the struggles of everyday life of what it is like to live inside your own head. I feel like I can give this book to someone if I ever had to explain my anxiety to them. For me personally, it is extremely difficult to put my anxiety into words because I can not fully understand it half of the time. But when I read these words, it was as if every thought I had was written out for me.

Not only does she struggle with anxiety, but she also has obsessive thoughts which I can relate to as well. The combination of OCD and anxiety is extremely difficult and draining. You can feel how tired Aza is from suffering from this.

I had tears in my eyes while reading this book.

It was poetic and thought provoking and absolutely everything I needed to read, especially right now.

I think I may have found my new favorite YA book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

xx, jessica