Tackling My TBR – A problem

Once again, I am on a dreaded book buying ban. I vow from this day onward until the 1st of January 2019 to not buy any books for myself. The only loophole I am allowing myself this time is if I need to buy someone a book as a gift, but that it is it. No more silly, ‘I can buy it if it’s secondhand’ or ‘if it’s a sequel, it’s fine’.

No, I am not even going to allow myself to buy Laini Taylor’s guaranteed masterpiece Muse Of Nightmares. I must be strong. I must be vigilant against all of the gorgeous books that may lead me to commit a great act of crime against my physical TBR. NO. MORE. BOOKS. FOR. YOU, MATILDA.

So here is my plan.

From September, I will tackle all of the contemporary books on my TBR. Or at least as many of them as humanly possible. I’m definitely a mood reader, and as soon as it’s very clearly Autumn, I will be wanting to move away from fluffy romances and armchair travel novels into mystical lands and stories about houses with murderous dolls.

The exception to my contemporary binge will be Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand which I will be reading at some point in the next few weeks. I was going to use it as a way to bridge the gap between Summer and Halloween season but I’m not sure how well that will pan out yet.

As soon as October hits, I’m going to be all about horror novels and thrillers. I for one, cannot wait. Hot chocolate, blankets, candles, pumpkins and…a book about teens murdering each other on an island? Yes please.

Once October is over and November rears it’s beautiful head, I will be delving deep into far away worlds and magical castles full of political intrigue. Yes. November is fantasy and sci-fi season in my mind. With perhaps a few historical novels thrown in there for safe measure.

And then in the last month of my book ban, December – I will be all about the classics. I will most likely be catching up on some of the books I haven’t managed to read yet, but for the most part, I want to be devouring the most gorgeous stories the English language has to offer.

What I hope to achieve by trying to tackle my TBR in the last few months of the year, is that I can go back to being a reader who has a few unread books on her shelf but keeps up to date with them. I want to go into Waterstones, knowing full well that whatever I buy will be my next read. I miss being able to do that. I am drowning in books. And despite the initial acceptance of this, I am now resisting the submergence and all that it signifies! I will be free! And able to breathe again. Hopefully.

I will be doing another post on my Contemporary September TBR, so stay tuned for that!

But I want to know how you’re doing with your TBR! Have you had any success with reducing it’s size? Do you even care about doing so? Let me know down below!

Matilda x

Three Things Book Tag

It’s been a really long time since I was tagged to do a blog post, so a massive thank you to the lovely CJ at Random Melon Reads for doing so. Make sure you go and check out his original post!

Three Read Once and Loved Authorsthreeonceread

  1. Morgan Matson – Second Chance Summer was the first book I read from Matson and I fell in love with everything. From the breezy, easy to read writing style, to the fluffy romance to the more serious undertones that her books always seem to have, it was pure contemporary perfection. Just based on this book alone she’s become an ‘instant buy’ author for me – let alone after reading the heartwarming armchair travel book that was Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour.
  2. Holly Bourne – Am I Normal Yet? was not the first book I ever read by Holly Bourne but it is for sure my favourite. The realistic depiction of mental illness – OCD in this particular novel – is gut-wrenchingly honest. I have yet to read a book by Holly where I have not become at one with the main character, and all of her stories are completely gripping. 
  3. Matt Haig – There aren’t going to be that many adult novelists in this blog post as I’m definitely more of a YA girl, but Matt Haig has become one of my favourite authors based on the two books I’ve read by him. Those being The Humans and How To Stop Time. Both feature heavy emphasis on the human mind and what makes us happy.  His stories are surprisingly accessible and he’s one of the easiest writers to read. Definitely someone to check out if you want to get yourself out of a reading slump!

Three Titles I’ve Watched But Haven’t Readthreewatched

  1. Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Easily one of the scariest and best children’s films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. As a massive fan of the creepy side of childhood innocence and the intricacies of our imagination, Coraline was the perfect story so who knows why I haven’t picked up the book yet? I’ll definitely try and get round to it soon. 
  2. The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien – I’ve heard really mixed things about the books from people who absolutely adore the movies so because of that I’ve been incredibly hesitant to pick the novels up. Not only that, but they also intimidate the hell out of me. I’m sure I will purchase a beautiful set of these books soon, and when I do they will jump up my TBR but until then, yikes. 
  3. The Shining by Stephen King – Definitely one of, if not my favourite horror movie EVER. However, I read IT by the same author last year, and despite him being hailed as a great writer and a horror mastermind, his writing style really didn’t click with me. I also find the way he writes female characters incredibly problematic but that’s a topic for a whole different blog post. I will most likely pick this book up at some point in my life, but I’m in no hurry to do so.

Three Characters You Lovethreecharacters

  1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I have been compared to Hermione on so many occasions throughout my life and despite it occasionally being used as an insult, I consider it the biggest compliment. The frizzy hair, the intelligence, the know-it-all-esque quality to her, and the fact that she’s a bookworm. What’s not to love? (Artwork by Maxy Artwork)
  2. Tarquin from the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas – Everyone loves Rhys, everybody loves Lucien and most people hate Tamlin but I feel like no one really mentions the lovely High Lord of The Summer Court. His generosity, his commitment to a united world and his uncertainty towards trusting too easily and getting screwed over by the other high lords completely and utterly charmed me. (Artwork by morgana0anagrom)
  3. Elain Archeron from the A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – I love both Feyre and Nesta as well of course, but the sister who melted my heart was Elain. Innocent, pure and in love with nature, I spent the majority of A Court Of Wings and Ruin swooning over her and Lucien. (Artwork by Alexial April)
  4. Special mention to the Suriel and Bryaxis from A Court Of Thorns and Roses as well, and Sparrow from Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

Three Series’ Bingedthreebinged

  1. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth – You probably either DNF’d these or were completely and utterly hooked. There really wasn’t an in-between. Sure, they had a lot of issues but they were addictive, fun and everything I wanted at the time from a YA dystopian. Unpopular opinion alert, but I personally hated Insurgent! 
  2. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer – I know, I know… what a MESS. From Edward and Bella’s incredibly toxic and emotionally abusive relationship to an adult werewolf falling in love with a newborn human baby (?!?!) – this was a shambles of a series in hindsight. However, at the time, it was a lot of fun and I was totally Team Edward. 
  3. The A Court Of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Sarah J. Maas – These books have become my babies. Aside from the highly explicit sex scenes, I adore everything to do with these books. Maas definitely has a way with words and her ability to craft such likeable characters is inspiring. 

Three Unpopular Bookish Opinionsthreeunpopular

  1. A Court Of Wings and Ruin is my favourite book from the ACOTAR trilogy – Also hands down the best cover out of the three. 
  2. I felt like the format of The Illuminae Files was a gimmick – I feel like the story was actually really strong but the format of the books totally detracted from it. I understand why some people like the originality of these but it didn’t work for me. 
  3. I prefer The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli to both Creekwood books – Don’t get me wrong, I adore all three novels. They are insanely good. However, there’s just something special about this one that pushes it far ahead of Simon VS and Leah On The Offbeat for me.

Three Current Favourite Book Coversthreecovers

  1. Before The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill Despite the fact that it looks like a middle grade cover, this book has one of the most beautiful YA covers I have ever seen.
  2. Evermore by Sara Holland – I know that a lot of people were disappointed with the contents of the first book in this series, but you cannot deny that the covers are absolutely stunning. Especially the UK editions. Personally, I actually loved Everless and cannot wait for the release of the sequel.
  3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Absolutely gorgeous. You can tell what the story is most likely going to be about from just looking at it, and have you seen under the dust jacket? I cannot wait to have this on my shelf! 

Three Goals for the YearthreeGOALS

  1. Start writing my novel – I have the very basics of the story mapped out, but I would really like to start doing my research before the end of the year. I’m super excited about where this novel could go, and hope that I actually get the motivation and time to get working on it!
  2. Gain the confidence to start requesting books from publishers – I still haven’t done this. I’m most likely at the stage where I could contact lesser known publishers and get accepted for print copies but the thought of writing a professional email and sending it off into the abyss, completely terrifies me.
  3. Finish the year  with 1000 followers on Twitter and 250 on my blog – I’ve already far surpassed where I expected to be by this time in terms of followers, so I’ve upped my original goal! I think it’s possible, but I definitely have to commit to posting regularly and not abandoning everything for months at a time.

I tag

Ash at The Book Bakery

Kate at Book Lover Kate

Aditi at Dreamy Reads

You’re welcome to not do them if you’ve been tagged, and obviously if I have not tagged you but you still want to, then go ahead and tag yourself!

What did you think of my choices? Do you agree/disagree with anything I said? Comment down below and let me know!

– Matilda x

Post-YALC Sadness

So, it’s over. After the anticipation and the constant counting down to YALC, it’s now been and gone. Au revoir my bookish paradise. Arrivederci to my lack of guilt over buying a shit ton of books and HELLO again to twelve hour work days and new book ban!

You’re probably wondering how I coped after my last post discussing how anxious I was feeling about attending the convention for the first time, and truth is, I didn’t cope all that well. Not the first day anyway.

Saturday feels like a massive blur to me now. I had been confident prior to waking up. I was going to go up and say hello to all of the publishers, make some contacts within the industry, become best friends with all my Twitter pals. But no, Saturday morning turned up (as to be expected I suppose, it always does – a very punctual thing really, the changing of days), and I had a meltdown. I hadn’t been anticipating the rain, I was going to straighten my unruly hair, but wasn’t able to because of the weather, and I hadn’t brought enough clips along to tame the mane! Tears everywhere, mascara everywhere…it was just an absolute mess of a morning!

We arrived into Kensington Olympia at around 11.15 – I’d been debating not going so we were considerably later than we’d anticipated – and despite the dreadful queue management, managed to find our way round to the YALC entrance.

Once we left the lift and entered the convention itself, I started really panicking. In fact, if it hadn’t been for John, I probably would have had a full blown panic attack and ended up leaving. However, we decided to sit down for a bit, take it all in and just go slow. We ended up starting from the beginning and walking round all of the stalls, and that really calmed me down. I’m definitely one for having a plan of action and organisation.

We attended a couple of signings (Keris Stainton, Amy McCulloch, M.A. Bennett), attended the Amongst the Stars panel with Lauren James, Sasha Alsberg, Becky Chambers and Samantha Shannon, which was just absolutely phenomenal. The highlight of the Saturday for sure! Went to a couple more signings (Lauren James and Laura Steven) and called it a day.

What I failed to mention was that by this point I had purchased/been given over thirty books. Well, between John and I anyway. This included a Waterstones haul that came to over £100. Oops.

Day One Haul (Purchased)

  1. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
  2. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
  3. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  4. My (Secret) Booktube Life by Charlotte Seager 
  5. Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen 
  6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  7. To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  8. How To Write A Love Story by Katy Cannon
  9. Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes by Holly Bourne
  10. Out Of The Blue by Sophie Cameron
  11. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  12. My Heart Goes Bang by Keris Stainton
  13. All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
  14. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith 
  15. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
  16. In Paris With You by Clémentine Beauvais
  17. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
  18. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  19. The Island by M.A. Bennett
  20. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
  21. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Day One Haul (Given out)

  1. Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand
  2. Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein
  3. The Foreseeable Future by Emily Adrian 
  4. Ascension by Victor Dixen
  5. Kick The Moon/I Am Thunder flip sampler by Muhammad Khan

On the second day, we decided to do a little less and venture into LFCC to see what all the fuss was about. We eagerly awaited Muhammad Khan’s signing (and he recognised me before I’d even said my name!) – this was easily my favourite part of the weekend, and given how much I adored his novel, I Am Thunder, it was so amazing to see that he was as lovely a person as he is a great writer! John also had his book signed by William Sutcliffe who seemed really lovely too!

I didn’t enjoy LFCC at all. It was too busy and manic, overpriced and just felt like the same stall over and over again. I’d go back in next year just to get some more pop vinyls (this year I bought Buffy, Harry from Kingsman and Jabba the Hutt) but besides that, I won’t be wasting my time again.

Going back to YALC, I purchased considerably less the second day as most stalls had sold out of a lot of their more popular titles but I still managed to get some great novels!

Day Two Haul (Purchased)

  1. The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson 
  2. The Extinction Trials : Exile by S.M. Wilson
  3. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  4. Hollow City by Ranson Riggs
  5. Library of Souls by Ranson Riggs
  6. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

My Personal Highlights

  • Jason Momoa walking in during the Amongst The Stars panel, and Lauren James unveiling her new book cover.
  • Meeting Muhammad Khan.
  • Buying ALL. THE. BOOKS.
  • Being surrounded by like-minded people and everyone being really friendly.
  • The ability to be able to freak out over a book without getting judged!

Ways I think YALC could improve

  • Have better accessibility and help for disabled/less able people. It shocked me how certain rules applied to some and not to others.
  • Have a better queue system and a better grasp of which authors are going to have longer queues.
  • Have people explaining where to go, and what to do when you first arrive. I had no idea how to book into workshops or how the panels worked or anything. I know they had an info point but a lot of book people have anxiety and asking things is out of the question. I missed out on a lot due to this.
  • Put the air con on! It was sweltering. Even on the days where it wasn’t even hot outside.

Things I would do differently next year

  • Book a three day ticket. Friday definitely looked to be the best day, and it was the only day I didn’t book tickets for.
  • Bring a suitcase?
  • Attend more panels and try a workshop!
  • Be more confident with authors at their signings. They’re most likely going to be lovely and know you’re feeling a bit awkward.
  • Speak to people I recognise. I saw so many people, but didn’t have the courage to go and say hi. This really led to me feeling a little left out, but hopefully next year I’ll try and be a bit better at this.

Overall though, we had a fantastic few days and 2019 cannot come quick enough! Thank you to all the organisers, publishers, authors and bookworms who made it happen! See you all again soon! 

With YALC comes anxiety…

This year will be my first time at YALC. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the Young Adult Literature Convention held in London during the summer. Featuring what looks to be a fantastic array of stalls, signings, talks and workshops, it really has a great variety of things to do for all of us bookworms.

The thing is…it also means that you’ll be in a large convention space packed with large amounts of people. Something which in all honesty, I’m still not entirely comfortable with.

Thankfully, I will be joined by a fellow book-blogger- my boyfriend John . But as my mind keeps reminding me, that’s only one person in a sea of plenty.

There have fortunately been a few things that have eased the anxiety somewhat. For example, I know that last years proof giveaways were a disaster and caused a lot of people to miss out on them, and not only that, to feel a bit insignificant and overlooked. This year, stalls have been told not to make people run for arcs and the majority of them will be hosting raffles instead. Meaning that it’s down to luck, not your mobility.

Also unsure of how on earth I’m going to gather up the courage to say hi to authors and publishers on the stalls. I’m insanely worried that I’ll just freeze up when I’m there and won’t be able to say anything! This is my first time going out as ‘Matilda from Matilda’s Library’ – which I know sounds stupid, but I really wish I had the confidence to network with people and get my name out there. This may have to be something I do next year instead.

I guess my biggest worry though is that I don’t really feel significant enough to ‘join in’. There’s a part of me that feels a bit excluded from the book blogging community, and that’s down to no one but myself and anxiety. It’s not like I haven’t been included in things. I know that there’s a group of you going out for dinner beforehand which I could also have gone to (unfortunately I’m busy on that day and not attending YALC on the Friday!), there’s a massive photo opportunity featuring a whole bunch of book bloggers, which I could also do, but I feel like I would be a spare part. Like I said, no one has made me feel this way, it’s just the way my brain is working right now. It’s in overdrive and asking me ‘why would they want you there anyway?’ It sucks, but I’m going to try not to let it dampen my YALC experience.

My fingers are crossed that I wake up on Saturday morning exuding confidence, but if you do say hi to me and I’m like a deer in the headlights, please know that I’m just going out of my mind with worry!

I’m well aware that I’m not the only one who feels like this, so if you are having the same kind of feelings as I am, please comment below and say hi! At least if we can’t do it face to face, we can do it online right?

If you’ve been to YALC before and you’re feeling better about it this year, also say hi! It would be great knowing that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you were thinking!

Basically, if you’re going to YALC, say hi!

The Problem With Book Buying Bans…

Look at your bookshelf! How many unread books sit there patiently waiting for you to finally release them from the torment of being on a never-ending TBR? Maybe you should do an un-haul! I know for a fact that, that one has been sitting there for over a year now and you’ve not even bothered to take it off the shelf to look at it again, let alone read it!

But wait? What if the day finally comes when you want to read it? You surely wouldn’t want to go out and buy a new copy because that would just be silly, wouldn’t it? No…an un-haul isn’t the answer. And look at that spine anyway! Who cares if you ever read it? It’s far too pretty to not be on your shelf. It belongs there. Right? ….Right?

Hmm…I’ve been hearing about these mysterious people lately with so much willpower that they’ve willingly put themselves on something called a book buying banMaybe that’s the key. Set a date to release yourself from this perilous task ahead, and begin your quest. Go on. I dare you. 

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit over dramatic (or not..), but this is essentially the conversation I had with myself at the beginning of the year! I received a fair few books for Christmas and immediately panicked about the new additions and when I was going to have the time to read them! Truth is, you’re a rarity if you live long enough to read every single book you want to read throughout your lifetime. Because I for one can tell you that I would have to pass away in thousands of years to even be close to completing my mental TBR. My physical TBR is another story. At least, for the time being. It’s manageable. Just about.

I think I’ve managed to get it down to under thirty books. And I started off the year with well over fifty. That might not single-handedly be down to putting myself on a ban as I did do a small un-haul a few months ago but it is the primary reason and I’m pretty proud of that.

So I gave myself six months of not buying books. My ban lifts in just under a week now, and I haven’t done badly at all. Sure, I’ve had a couple of slip ups and created some weird loop holes (‘I can buy sequels to books I already have’ or ‘It doesn’t count if they’re second hand’ anyone?), but all in all it has been a success.

Below is a list of books that I have bought within the last six months. I am not including books that have been bought for me as gifts, books I have received from publishers/authors or books I have received in subscription boxes. Only the books I have physically purchased myself.

List of books I slipped up for 

  1. The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albetalli (£7.99, NEW)
  2. Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (£7.99, NEW)
  3. Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (£7.99, NEW)
  4. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (£12.99, NEW)
  5. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (£1.49 in a charity shop)
  6. How To Stop Time by Matt Haig (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  7. Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  8. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  9. Heidi by Johanna Spyri (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  10. The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  11. The Girls by Emma Cline (£0.50 in a charity shop)
  12. Alice In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (£19.99, NEW – Folio Society editions)

TOTAL SPENT – £61.44

Given that before this I typically spent around £50.00 every single month, I really am impressed with myself. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it but here we are. Six months down the line and I’m almost free!!!!

But what happens next? So many books have been released in the time that I’ve been banned and all I want to do is go and spend my money on the ones that I haven’t already bought. So, in reality, are book buying bans really that successful after all?

Am I going to go out and buy £250 worth of books next week just to make up for it?

I’m hoping that this has actually given me a wake-up call and I could easily sit here right now and say ‘yes, yes it has’, but let loose in a bookshop with money to spend? Only time will tell!

I’ll do an update post later on next week, and feel free to keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram accounts (@matildaslibary) for live updates throughout the week!

P.S – If you’re going on a book buying ban, libraries are your best friend! They trick you into thinking you have new books even when you don’t! Variety is the spice of life after all!

Welcome Back To Matilda’s Library

I’m ever so sorry that I haven’t posted anything on here in over a month. Life has just been utter chaos, and I haven’t had time to do much at all, let alone spend time on my blog. I fully intended to get a posting schedule together and get back into the flow of things but unfortunately that didn’t end up happening, as you can clearly see.

Before Matilda’s Library became a thing, my previous blogs were often discussing my other interests, music and film, as well as incorporating posts about my mental health. It took a really long time to realise that I am not my mental health and there is more to me than that, so I deleted those blogs and took a break. This particular blog was born after  I re-discovered my love of literature and I completely shut out everything else that made me Matilda, in the hopes that I could be this new and improved person who didn’t publicly deal with all the crap going on inside of my head. Well, unfortunately, and obviously…that didn’t work out, and I’ve come to realise that I genuinely miss having a place to discuss things like that. And so, with this re-vamp of Matilda’s Library, I’m going to become so much more than books.

BUT DON’T PANIC. This will always be first and foremost a blog about books. I am still just as obsessed by the written word and the beautiful, aesthetically pleasing covers that grace our lives, but I’m also a human being, one who goes through a lot of shit on a daily basis, and I know that a lot of you do too.

To keep this blog consistently bookish, I will be starting weekly updates about other aspects of my life. You may not care at all about the person behind this blog, but more than anything, these posts will be for me. Please feel free to comment about your own experiences and thoughts about different subject matters but also know that if you’re not interested, that’s fine too.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new and hopefully improved Matilda’s Library. I’m very much looking forward to throwing myself back into the blogging world!

Review – The Fear by C.L. Taylor

When Lou Wandsworth was a teen, she ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes but when she discovered their relationship wasn’t what it had seemed, he left her life in pieces. Now in her thirties and still struggling to move on from the events all those years ago, she moves back to her old town to stop him from doing the same thing again. It soon becomes clear that Mike hasn’t changed, and Lou finds herself in danger once more.

Over the years, I feel like thriller novels have become something of a ‘quick holiday read‘ or a ‘commuters book‘ as I call them. Something that non-readers are likely to pick up if ever they want to get engrossed in a story for a week. They require little concentration, but at the same time make you feel like you’re pretty damn intelligent for correctly sussing out the perpetrator.

The Fear was no different, however it never failed to keep me guessing and I’m normally very quick to get to the bottom of thrillers. This was one of the many reasons I loved it so much. There were so many twists and turns that you weren’t sure where you stood. Was the narrator unreliable? Was she telling the truth? Is Mike actually just being framed? These are the questions you’ll be asking yourself when you get round to reading this!

It was very accessibly written and at no point did I find my interest waning. The characters were flawed but aside from one exception, all remained very likeable and the story itself, despite being a difficult subject to cover, was handled with grace, strength and honesty.

This was my first C.L. Taylor book, but I’ll be hopping onto Amazon to buy more because she’s left me hooked!

Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for sending me a copy of the book, and to Cally Taylor for making it such a gripping read! All thoughts are my own.

Make sure you check out other bloggers stops on this blog tour!

The Fear - Blog Tour Banner - Part 2

Why I No Longer Use Netgalley

We’ve all been there. The day where you start getting approved for ARCS and just press that damn request button over and over and over….

However, most people don’t read a review copy as their first eBook and that’s where I went wrong. I didn’t know how I would feel about not being able to turn the pages or not being able to smell that new book smell. Even being able to physically feel how far through the story you are or not being able to look round and see that beautiful cover on your bedside table. Yes, I may have had a slight meltdown when I discovered how much I disliked reading on my Kindle. Suddenly I was swimming in a bunch of stories that I just knew I wasn’t going to love, simply because of the format.

So what did I do? I boycotted eBooks.

BUT…I have a plan!

I signed up to read the books I requested and I intend to keep my promise to do so. I’m just going to have to either buy or loan the books from the library as they get released. Yes, my reviews and ratings may be late and it might get expensive but I know that it’s the right decision for me. After that I will close my Netgalley account and be done with it.

At the end of the day, I have a full time job, I’m trying to get my blog running properly again and let’s face it, having time to read is a luxury.

I’ll be doing a separate post regarding my Netgalley TBR soon and I’ll also be catching up on comments. I fully intend to be more active on here again and I can’t wait to get back in the blogging game!

Thank you so much to everyone who has stuck by this blog while I’ve been on a sort of hiatus.

I’m getting ready to kick some TBR butt! *plays short clip of me reading tons of books filmed in the style of an 80’s movie training montage*

REVIEW – Cauldron’s Bubble by Amber Elby

I will openly admit to being one of those school students who completely devalued the work of Shakespeare just because I didn’t comprehend the language. As an adult, I understand that perhaps delving into his works might be too time consuming amidst our fast pace lives. However, I do think that if you have a love of literature, reading one of his plays surely must be something you ought to try and do.

Not that I can talk. My teachers didn’t exactly light the spark that I needed to become an avid Shakespeare reader and once I finished school, I didn’t feel the need to pick another play up. That’s not to say I won’t. I have plenty of them on my TBR, but they’ve fallen so far down the pile now that I needed something to inspire me to bump them back up.

Cauldron’s Bubble may have just been that something. It follows a young girl named Alda, who suddenly discovers an object that holds the power to transport her to different times and places. Alongside a cabin boy named Dreng, they must navigate their way through different conflicts and a large cast of characters taken from the original works of William Shakespeare. This first book features elements of The Tempest, Hamlet and Macbeth.

I knew only the very basics of each Shakespeare play upon delving into Cauldron’s Bubble and at no point did I feel lost or unsure of what was happening which is a huge testament to Elby’s writing capabilities. This is a woman who KNOWS Shakespeare and her love of the playwright shines through on every page.

The story line itself was fast paced and action packed although if I did have any criticisms on that front, I do think it could have been a much longer book. I didn’t feel like I got to know Alda and Dreng all that much, and the world building could have used some more groundwork, but if my only complaint is that it should have been longer then I think we’ve got a strong debut on our hands!

Ultimately, if these issues were fine tuned, I think Elby has the potential to do what Rick Riordan did for Greek Myths. Turn what is considered a boring school subject into something gripping, educational and fun for a variety of ages!

I eagerly await the sequel!

A huge thank you to Amber Elby herself for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts are my own.

Review – The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

I’ve often felt unsure of whether I’m on the right path in life, as I’m sure many of you have too, and despite considering myself a good person, I can’t count the amount of times that I have ruminated on past events only to come to the conclusion that maybe I’m not.

Your twenties are all about questioning yourself and it can sometimes seem that you’re already falling behind on the decision making.  Do you want kids? Do you want to be with your current partner forever? Do you actually still want to do the career that you’ve worked your arse off at university for?

Our main character asks herself a couple of these questions during The Things We Learn When We’re Dead. After waking up in a hospital on a spaceship named HVN, and informed that she died after being hit by a car, Lorna must reflect back on her life and figure out why she’s been brought there. With only a hippy God as their Captain, a Kate Winslet doppelganger named Irene and an AI named Trinity to help her, does she have all she needs to figure out who she really is and ultimately, make an important choice.

First thing’s first, I’m going to get the obvious out of the way. If you happen to have heard about this book anywhere, you will see that it has been marketed as having elements of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Lovely Bones and The Wizard Of Oz. Please go into this book without these comparisons in mind, because I think you’ll probably enjoy it more for doing so. Yes, the were subtle references to The Wizard Of Oz but aside from that, I think the other two were pretty unfounded, although I understand they were to do with the publishers marketing strategy rather than Charlie himself.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is probably seventy five percent contemporary, and twenty five percent sci-fi which was a really intriguing mix. I definitely think Laidlaw excels at writing the contemporary sections better, but the scenes that took place on HVN were completely original and incredibly bizarre. As a lover of all things weird, this was definitely right up my alley.

The memories that Lorna was regaining throughout the course of the novel were exceptionally written too. I laughed, I felt sad, and I developed a deep connection with the protagonist because of her experiences on earth. I was hooked and it’s rare that scenes in a contemporary setting have that impact on me. I suppose to put it simply, this is going to be a book that you’ll oddly be able to relate to.

Now I’m pretty certain that this is considered adult literature but we’ve been screaming out for early twenties female protagonists in YA and so far, I think this has been one of the most accurate representations I’ve ever read. Quite an accomplishment given that Charlie Laidlaw himself has two grown children and well..is a man. So, even if you don’t typically branch away from YA all that much, this comes highly recommended.

Thank you to Charlie Laidlaw himself for sending me a personalised copy, and thank you so much to Accent Press for creating such a lovely feeling book to hold in your hands!