struggles of a book blogger

Being a blogger is hard. Being a book blogger is even harder.

There are a ton of expectations that come with being a book blogger, like buying/reading all of the newest releases, going to different bookish events, and getting a ton of ARCs from publishers. In this post, I have a list of the different struggles of being a book blogger that I have faced many times! I hope some of you can relate to them.

Keeping Up With New Releases

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New books are being published every. single. day. It is so hard to stay on top of all of the new releases from your favorite authors, plus books you’ve been dying to read by debut authors! It is just physically impossible to a) buy them all and b) read them all as soon as they come out.

Plus, I used to think that if I am not reading and reviewing the latest books released that I am an inferior blogger. But that is so not the case! You can read and write about any books you choose to!

Feeling Like You Need To Be Reading All The Time

When I read other bloggers’ wrap ups and see that they have read 10 books in a month, it can be really harmful. It is impossible for me to read as much as I would like during the school year, and sometimes I just need a break to watch some mindless tv shows instead of investing my time in focusing on a new world. This is an internal struggle I have with myself all the time.

I don’t need to be reading at all times to be considered a book blogger. It can be hard to believe that when you rely on reading new books for blog post content, but it is important to keep in mind.

Feeling Like Your Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

There have been times when I neglected my blog and didn’t post for a week or more. However, I usually publish at least one post a week, which takes a lot of time. Each post requires a lot of planning, writing, photographing, and editing. It might seem like it is quick and easy to do, but it’s not.

It can be a little difficult sometimes when you put in a lot of effort into a post you are excited about and not see it do as well as you had hoped. It makes you doubt yourself and your blog. I always try not to let this bother me, but sometimes it can be hard.

Book Pictures Are Actually Hard To Take

Fun Fact: I used to write fashion/beauty posts. When I started book blogging, one of the first differences I noticed was that taking pictures for bookish posts is actually way more difficult. It is hard to come up with ways to make your pictures stand out and look different for each post.

There are only so many ways that you can angle a book, so it’s hard sometimes. I don’t want all of my posts to look the same, so I try to take unique pictures. That doesn’t always work out so well.

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Blogging can be difficult. It is draining and takes a lot of time. But, I love it so much, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. Please leave a comment down below if you can relate to these struggles! I don’t want to be the only one!

 

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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

“loves me not, loves me” // book review

*I received this book for review, but all opinions are my own*

Loves Me Not, Loves Me by Brittany Julian is a poetry collection split into 2 parts. The first part, “Heartache’s Interlude” focuses on heartbreak and the pain caused by it. It also details the healing and forgiveness you must do for yourself.

The second half is about love. A main focus in this book is that you can’t have love without heartbreak, and vice versa. You need to go through some hardships to be able to feel love completely.

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I really, really enjoyed this book. The poetry is amazing and relatable. Even if you have never gone through heartbreak or experienced true love, you can feel the words the author is writing nonetheless.

I haven’t read any poetry books in a couple of months, but this one reminded me why I love them so much.

Here is one of my favorites:
please don’t convince yourself
that you are too complex
to be loved
you are not a problem
waiting to be solved
there is no algorithm
for us humans
who fall in love
no way to calculate
if the love will be worth the loss
in the months to come
or if all the frogs i’ve kissed
have led me to meet
one f****** prince

If you want to purchase the book yourself, check it out here!

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{HUGE} March Book Haul! 

March was a great book buying month for me. I purchased from BookOutlet for the first time this month and I am so glad I did. Most of the books I bought just based off the covers and synopsis, and haven’t heard anything about them previously. I am excited to see if I like them or not. I also received a lot of books, or bought them at other places! Trust me, I wouldn’t have the money to buy all these books if they weren’t in sale!

I won’t be able to give a long description of the books because it would be too long, so there are just my initial thoughts!

BookOutlet:

  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff– I heard great things about this book so I had to buy it! I already finished it so a review will be up soon.
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour– This is a book I have heard good things about for a while, so I look forward to reading it! (Update: It is AMAZING)
  • Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco– This cover is so beautiful and the synopsis really intrigued me.
  • Joyride by Anna Banks– I don’t even remember what this is about but it’s probably a contemporary based off the cover! I really like the cover and that’s why I bought it.
  • Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz– Another gorgeous cover, this book is more of a mystery though, if I remember correctly.
  • Thin Space by Jody Casella- Mystery/Thriller book!
  • Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams- The synopsis sounds interesting! It’s about a murder/er I think!
  • Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley- I don’t like the cover of this but I wanted to make my order an even number (10 instead of 9) so I just added it to my cart last minute.
  • The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- I didn’t realize until after I made the purchase that this is the 3rd book in a series, so I probably won’t read it anytime soon.
  • The Fall by Bethany Griffin- I don’t think I will be a huge fan of this book, but I want to give it a try.

If you have ever thought about purchasing from BookOutlet but were unsure of the state of the book, I can assure that they come in great condition! All the books I bought came unharmed in any way, and because they are so cheap, I was surprised. BookOutlet buys the extra stock of books that sellers have at a cheaper price, so they are brand new. I am so glad I made this purchase. I bought 10 books for only $30.

Target:

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  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard- This book has both good and bad reviews but it was hyped a lot so of course I bought it (it’s about time).

Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC):

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  • The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger– I received an ARC of this book this month and I am extremely excited because it’s the first arc I have ever received. It doesn’t come out until June, and I am really excited to read it.
  • Carmer and Grit by Sarah Jean Horwitz– I’m honestly not sure how I received this book because I don’t remember entering to get it. I am happy though and it looks like a great read! It comes out in April.
  • Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon– This is not an ARC but the author sent it to me to review. It is out, so you can purchase it if you would like! My review is up if you want to check it out here.

Used Books:

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  • Second Sight by Philip R. Craig and William G. Tapply- I purchased this book at a used book store near me! It is the first purchase I made there, so it was a bit rushed and I picked this book randomly.

E-Books:

  • It Starts Like This by Shelby Leigh- This is a poetry collection that I have been wanting to read for a while, so of course I knew I needed it when it went on sale!
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas- I have been wanting to read this for ages, and someone on Twitter was kind enough to lend it to me through kindle!
  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken- Another book that was lent to me, and I can not wait to read!
  • The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson- Another poetry book that has great reviews.
  • Uncaged Wallflower by Jennae Cecelia- I think I might have gotten this in February actually, oh well. After reading Jennae’s first book, I wanted to give this one a go, too.
  • Because You’re Mine by Colleen Cobble- I got this book on NetGalley to review so I need to post a review of it when I finish!
  • Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti- I also got this book for free (I don’t like e-books so I only get them if they’re free LOL) but it sounds interesting!

So that is my whole haul! I can’t believe I received/purchased 22 books this month (new record for me). Let me know if you have any of these and what you think about them. Also, let me know If you want a review of any of these.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber- Review

Book: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Goodreads Synopsis: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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*Spoiler Free Review*

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

There has been tons of hype surrounding this book for the past month or so in the book blogging community. Of course I had to join in because the synopsis was really intriguing. Let me tell you, it definitely lives up to its reviews. I read page after page in the course of a couple of days. I stayed up late just to finish it because I wanted to know what would happen next. I genuinely could not put it down.

No, this book is not perfect (is any book?). But the storyline was just so interesting that it makes up for it. For one thing, you don’t know which direction it is headed in. You might be expecting one event to happen, but the plot takes a total turn. There were points where I was internally screaming because I didn’t see something coming.

The introduction of this book is what really got me. Stephanie Garber really knows how to draw in her readers. It was so sad to read about, but when a book can pull out my emotions, I know it is a good one.

The characters are also amazing. You feel like you can’t trust anyone, because the whole island is so mysterious. But at the same time, I still shipped a lot of the characters together, even if I wasn’t sure I should. There were some relationships I secretly wanted to happen, and some that were happening that I didn’t want at first.

I don’t want to share any more details because it is important you don’t go into the book knowing more than the synopsis above. It will make the enjoyment and initial confusion so much better.

Overall, this book really lived up to my expectations. It was clever. It was well written. I am really hoping for a sequel to this because the story can’t just be left there. I will be the first to buy book two if it happens!

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Temporary Storms- McKayla Debonis (Book Review)

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**I was sent this book to review by the author, but all opinions are my own

Hello and welcome to another book review! Today I will be talking about more poetry (shocker!) by the author McKayla Debonis.

Temporary Storms is McKayla’s first poetry book and it was self-published. That being said, there were a few grammatical/mechanical errors, but they did not affect my overall enjoyment. However, for her debut as a poet, this book is a great start. 

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The book is separated into 2 parts: The Storm and The Forever. The first half really focuses on pain, specifically related to mental health disorders. It also describes heartbreak, both with a significant other and with friends, which were very spot on. It was a great visual picture in words. 

The main symbol in the book is storms. It uses storms as a metaphor that “pain is temporary, you are forever.” I love that idea, and the book itself was very encouraging, especially in the second part. The Forever is all about forgiveness, but not of others, of yourself. It is the idea that you are worth so much and you should be happy with who you are. It is about acceptance, and relief after “leaving the storm.”

I found that many of the poems really resonated with me, and I know that this is the book I will turn to when in need of some inspiration. If you have gone through heartbreak, I am sure you will be able to connect to this book. If you have not, the emotion behind every word will still draw you in. The feelings are ones that every person goes through in their life, be it long or short term. 

The words are very honest and they tell the authors true emotions. 

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Here is an excerpt from the book:
After the Storm:
those dark menacing clouds have passed
you can finally see the sun and a clear
blue sky once again
a rainbow overhead
glittering seamlessly
the storm has passed and yet you are still
here because those storms are nothing
more than a temporary doom
you are still standing because you are
forever

I hope you decide to check it out and read the book. It is temporarily off the market for revision, but it will be up soon. For now, check out McKayla’s Instagram and Twitter for updates!

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March TBR!

Since tomorrow is the first day of March and I somehow managed to become a book and lifestyle blogger (when I started as a fashion and beauty blogger- life is crazy), I decided to post my TBR (To Be Read) list.

I purchased a few new books this month and I want to read some that I’ve been holding on to for months.

  1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I am so excited to finally read it. I was in Target the other day and I found the last copy in store. It was even on sale which was a perk. The story follows a girl named Scarlett whose dream is to attend the one-a-year performance called Caraval. She sets off on a journey with her sister and a mysterious sailor. When they arrive, her sister is kidnapped by the mastermind of the show. Scarlett is told that whoever finds her sister first is the winner. Of course, Scarlett is on a mission to bring back her sister before someone else finds her.
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: If you saw my last post, you know I want to read more classics, and this is the first on my list. I began reading it a couple of days ago but I’m only 60 pages in. This book is about Elizabeth Bennet who is an extremely independent character, and her adventure in finding love.
  3. Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble: I received this ebook for review and I have yet to get to it. I really hope to finish it soon, I just always find it difficult to read ebooks fully. Hopefully I will get it done early, and I will publish a review soon after. Here is a small summary from Goodreads: “When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.”
  4. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: I bought this book months ago, and I promised myself I would read it soon. This is mostly because I don’t want to watch the movie until I read the book. I am making it a mission to finish it this month. It follows a young boy named Bruno whose father receives a promotion, forcing the whole family to move. Behind his house is a long fence separating him and “strange people.” He meets a young boy his age, which results in a friendship between the two. This relationship may have some consequences, however.

That is all for my TBR list this month. I don’t want to set high expectations for myself because I will be beginning track next week, and my reading time will go down by a lot.

What books do you hope to read? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for books to add to my reading list.

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