Past Favourites – What Do I Think Now?

bookish post

Hi Readers

I’ve been doing ‘favourite books of the year’ lists since 2013. In this post I’m going to be going through all the books that made to my number 1 spot and seeing whether I’ve read it since and whether my thoughts have changed.

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The Fault In Our Stars by John Green 

Two teenagers meet at a cancer support group. Cuteness and heartbreak ensue. 

This book had a real impact on me when I first read it at 16. I really appreciate what it did for the YA genre but my thoughts have kind of changed since then. I’m just not a fan of books that make me depressed anymore. 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A boy who doesn’t look like anybody else is about to start middle school for the first time. 

I still love this. I love that it delves into each of the characters lives. It’s so heart-warming and made me laugh and cry. 

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

After the loss of their mother, twins Jude and Noah are struggling to find themselves again. 

I think I’ve read this twice more since I first read it and it’s beauty still astounds me. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

An iconic classic that tells the story of Jane Eyre, who becomes a governess for Mr Rochester’s young ward.

The only classic to make this list and still one of my all time favourites…even though I’ve never reread it. Really should get on that.

Neopolitan Series by Elena Ferrante 

Set in an impoverished part of Naples we meet two young girls who become unexpected friends. These books span their entire life time and we see them go through their ups and downs in a harsh world. 

If I had a penny for the amount of times I’ve pushed people to read this I would have enough for a Holiday to Naples by now. One of the most beautifully crafted series I have ever read. It’s just got everything you could possibly want in a contemporary. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

A young journalist gets the opportunity to interview a retired Hollywood movie star who has lived a very colourful life. 

This was my favourite of 2018. It made me laugh and cry and I’m still awestruck by how beautiful this story is. I haven’t had the chance to reread it yet but this has a huge place in my heart and I still recommend it whenever I can. 

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I still love 5/6 so that’s not bad at all. Funnily enough the only one I don’t still love was the one I read the longest time ago. 

What past favourite books have you changed your opinion of? Let me know. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Ideas On How To Track Your 2019 Reading

readingplans

Hi Readers

When it comes to the end of a reading year I can’t be the only person here who loves a good statistic. How much I read, what genres, what authors etc. But to get those stats we need to keep track of everything we read throughout the year.

I’ve been tracking my reading since I was 15. In that time I’ve tried and tested so many different ways. Today I want to share with you what I think are the best and most fun ways of doing it.

swirlyFirst, the obvious and probably most popular way of keeping track of your reading is Goodreads.

This site is perfect for people who want to make their reading more social. You can update what you’re reading as you go, interact with other readers and at the end of the year Goodreads gives you a list of all the books you marked as ‘Read’.

There’s also the Goodreads Challenge which allows you to set a goal for yourself for how many books you’d like to read in a year. You can set it at any number you think you’re capable of.swirly

I also keep a reading journal. This is good for anyone who is as obsessed with notebooks as I am. This is how I keep track of not just what I’m reading but my thoughts as well. I’ll update it as I’m reading and sometimes write in quotes I like or predictions.

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This last one is my personal favourite, Google Sheets!

Here’s a link if you want to take a peek at what it looks like. Essentially, this is if I want more indepth statistics at the end of the year. It’s a bit more work and it’s not for everyone, but I love the info it gives me about my reading. 

So this year I’ve made a few changes in order to get more out of it.

Ratings – On my spreadsheet last year my ratings chart didn’t turn out very clear so this year I’m sticking with the 5 star rating system.

Pages – I’d love to know what size books I’m more inclined to pick up and read.

Year First Published – This is a completely new addition. I’m curious to see what years my books come from and whether there’s any gaps I’d like to fill.

Series – Another new addition. This is to keep track of where I’m at with my series (whether they’re ongoing or complete) and how many standalones I read.

Status – This is how I’ll keep track of rereads and DNFs. Everything else will be marked ‘read’

Source – Library, Own or ARC

Diversity? – In this column I’ll track what diversity the books I am reading has in them. I’m doing this for two reasons, one, to encourage me to think about what I am reading more but also to help me when it comes to recommending diverse books.

Reviewed? – If I have wrote an individual review for the book I’ll put yes. I’m curious to know how many of the books I read in the year get a review.

Author Nationality – I’ve always had this but before I would just put White or POC. Now, if I can, I want to give this category a little more detailed. So now I’ll put British, American, African American, Asian etc. etc.

New to Me Author? – Another yes or no column, just to see whether the author influences what I read in any way. I have no idea if I tend to stick with authors I know or not.

I also have a sheet where I keep track of what I’m borrowing from the library. I just have three columns for it, the book name, the return date and whether I’ve read it or not.

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Let me know how you’re going to track your reading in 2019!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

 

2019 Reading Plans – Themed Monthly TBRs

readingplans

Hi Readers

I suck at year long reading goals. I never seem to make time for them and half-way through the year I tend to have completely forgotten what it was I set out to do.

So, because I have basically always failed at year long goals I’m going to try and change it up a little. Hense, themed months. I plan on focusing one month on reading a certain genre or prompt.

I’m not going to be overly strict on this. If there’s something I’m dying to read that doesn’t fit the theme, I’ll read it.

I’ll also try and not put too any books on the TBR. 6 max.

Here are the themes I’ve planned so far.

January – Books I Own

Hopefully I can get through some books that have been sitting on my shelf for a while now.

February – Others Favourites of 2018
March – Biggest Books On My TBR

I won’t lie, big books scare me. Time to knock a few off of my TBR. 

April – Authors of Colour

In 2018 19% of what I read was written by a black author. There’s just no excuse for this lack of diversity. I want to include at least one book by a person of colour every month, but I’d also love to focus an entire month on them as well.

May – Prize Winners

I’m always curious about prize winners and I have a stack that I really want to get to.

June – Countries I Have Never Read About

In 2018 I made a goal to globalise my reading a bit more. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so hopefully I can do that within the month of June.

July – LGBTQIA

In honour of the London Pride Parade.

August – Feminist Literature

I have so many on my goodreads Want To Read list. 

September – Lowest Rated Books On My Goodreads TBR

When choosing books I want to read I tend to rely on the GoodReads Avg. rating to tell me whether the book is good or not way too much.

October – Thrillers

I feel like it’s the perfect time to get stuck into some thrilling novels. 

November – Classics I Have Never Heard Of

All the classics I’ve read I’d already heard a lot about. I want to read some under the raider classics. 

December – Books About Books

There are so many good ones and I think a book about books is automatically cosy, which is perfect for the festive season. 

Let me know your 2019 plans for reading. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

Bookstagram: Spookathon Photo Challenge

Hi Readers

I just wanted to do a quick little post to let you know that I’m going to be taking part in a bookstagram photo challenge in October. 

One of my favourite Booktubers Kayla from BooksandLala is hosting this. Basically it’s an Instagram Photo Challenge where each day you get a new prompt and attempt to post a pic every day for an entire month. 

I’ve only recently gotten back into bookstagram and have been pretty consistent with it. The reason why I got into it again was because I really enjoyed the BookTubeAThons photo challenges, so I figured I’d enjoy this as well. 

Here’s my instagram if you want to follow my progress! Comfort Reads Bookstagram.

Hosts Instagram! Books and Lala’s Bookstagram

Let me know if you’re taking part as well!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

TV Shows: Recent Watches

Hi Readers

I’ve watched a few TV Shows recently that I just have to share with you because I have been loving them and basically want everybody to watch these as well. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Last year I had never heard of this TV show, but then it was ‘cancelled’ and suddenly I couldn’t go on twitter without seeing an outpouring of love for it, and for good reason. I don’t normally like comedies but this one really reminds me of Friends without trying to be Friends. It’s full of heart and friendship and the fact that it’s follows the NYPD gives it another edge. I really loved watching this, highly recommend.

Unforgotten – Another TV show I had never heard of before but I caught the beginning of season 3 on ITV and was intrigued so I started from the beginning. It follows a detective who investigates ‘historical crimes.’ Each season starts with them finding the remains of a body from years ago, they try and identify the person, and then figure out how they died. I watched all three seasons in less than a week. It’s so unpredictable and one of the best Crime shows I’ve ever watched. 

Masterchef Australia Season 10 – I love cooking competitions but MA is definitely my favourite. They always pick great home cooks that are likable (unlike the ones on MC USA)  and it’s really exciting (unlike MC UK). It’s just the best and this was probably one of the best seasons. 

Bodyguard – I’m actually currently watching this but I only have the final to go. This is an amazingly current and thrilling political TV show that follows a war veteran, who is assigned as the bodyguard for the home secretary to protect her from an assassination plot by terrorists. 

Great British Bake Off – This is one of those TV Shows that I get excited for every year. I really like this years contestants and right now I’m predicting either Rahul and Briony win. But it’s still early days. 

Strictly Come Dancing – Now this has barely started up again but I just had to mention it. I watch this every year and when it starts it just makes Halloween and Christmas feel so close and it makes me so excited.

Let me know what TV Shows you’ve watched recently!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

New Blog Name!

Hi Readers

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog lately and making minor changes here and there to try and improve it as best as I could. Now I’m at a place where I’m really happy with how it looks, I have some exciting content planned and have everything now where it’s easy to find. 

There’s was just one thing left I wasn’t sure about… the name. 

I’ve been here before. I started this blog as ‘BookLovingJess’ when I was Fifteen and I had that name for three years.

Then I changed it to ‘Once Upon A Biblio’, which I liked but I felt like it would make people who saw that think I mostly just read Children’s or Fantasy when I don’t really read much of either. So I went off that pretty quickly.

So then I decided to go for ‘Reads and Dreams,’ which I’ve had now for maybe two years and it’s just never felt right. It doesn’t really set the vibe that I want for my blog. 

So, I have decided to undergo one final name change for this blog. And it will be final because unlike the others, I just feel like this ones right. It’s unique (I haven’t found another blog with it so hopefully it is), it sets the right vibe and I feel like it just suits my blog and gives people an idea of who I am, hopefully, if a blog name can do that. 

So, my blogs new name is…

Comfort Reads!

The reason why I picked this is because books have always been there to comfort me and that’s why I read.

When I was a 10 year old reading Jacqueline Wilson books and getting into reading for the first time, those books made me feel understood because I saw myself in her characters. That feeling was comforting to me. 

To this day I read books for comfort. Of course I like books that challenge me and even educate me, but it’s still nice to curl up with a good comfort read and leave all my worries behind me. 

I’m really excited for this new chapter of my blog. I have a good feeling about ‘Comfort Reads’.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Books I Have Read But Barely Remember

Hi Readers

I have read 424 books in the last 5/6 years. Some of those books clung onto me even after I put it down. I can remember small details, how I felt whilst reading it and why I loved (or even hated) it. 

However, there are a lot of books I’ve read over the years that I’ve either forgotten I read it, or feel like I haven’t because I remember nothing about it. 

Those are the books I’m going to be talking about today. 

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – I definitely read the whole book but I couldn’t give you more than maybe a synopsis. 

City of Ashes, Fallen Angels and Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare – Yeah these books are mysteries to me. I just can’t remember anything about the plots. I do plan on rereading this series before the final ‘Dark Artifices’ book comes out so I will find out soon. 

Geek Girl by Holly Smale – I still see this book around and I know I’ve read it, but the plot has just escaped my memory. 

Gone by Michael Grant – Again, I remember the premise of this book but the beginning, middle and ending? They’re gone.

Pretties by Scott Westefeld – …I’ve read this book?!?!? What?? I swear I stopped reading this series after Uglies but I gave Pretties 3 stars?? I do not remember this. At all.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver – Another sequel I swear I didn’t read. Strange. 

Mara Dyer (1 & 2) by Michelle Hodkin – I do remember reading these as I remember waiting so long for the final book but by the time it came out it was getting such bad reviews I decided not to bother. Plus, I would’ve had to have reread the first two because I remember nothing. 

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini – I swear I didn’t read this book. I have it on my ‘read shelf’ on Goodreads, I gave it 2 stars, but I swear I did not read this book. I’m so confused. 

Me, Earl and the Dying by Jesse Andrews – I think I erased this from my memory as much as I could because I hated it so much. I think it was the sense of humour. 

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce – This was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog. I remember nothing of it now. Couldn’t even give you a synopsis. 

That Summer by Sarah Dessen – I do remember one thing about this book. I hated it. It’s one of the few books I have given a one star rating. 

Share with me the books you’ve read but have no memory of so I don’t feel so alone in this. Hah!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X