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!