Mug Monday & My 2020 Read/Review Choices

Happy Mug Monday!

I trust everyone is going great?

For today´s Mug Monday chitchat I´d like to talk about my new book read and review choices for this year. But before we get into that… Here´s my mug feature for the week:

A simple stripe mug. Nothing too fancy. Next to it is my blasted Kindle. As you can tell I was willing to charge it. The damn thing is dead again. Lasted a total of 1 ebook. * sigh *

Blogging genres is something I´ve thought about a lot in 2019- How to read AND review all the books I read. There´s a simple solution for this; Just do it. Read and review whatever the Hell I want, right? If only it were that easy for me. I´m an overthinker. And, I struggle with a deep-rooted mindset.

You see, for me, book blogging has always been about sticking to one genre. For over a decade I´ve talked so much about the fluff, love, heartbreak, and sex… Yeah, 10 years’ worth of romance talk has been a tad one-sided. Not even my offline life is that romance filled! So, why haven´t I been blogging about other genres? I don´t know. Romance blogging became a habit and I stuck with it. Because it worked well for me. You don´t change something the works, right? If it´s not broken don´t fix it.

Every once in a while I smuggled other genres onto my blog but I wasn´t able to make these additions permanent. My mindset was fixated on blogging about romance novels even though I read books from other genres all the time.

It took me a full year to come up with a strategy to kick this idiotic mindset of mine. I would love to include other genres on my blog. I just never knew how to without feeling out of place.

This is why I´ve decided to just go for it. What´s the worst that can happen? Exactly. Nothing wrong can or will happen. It´s just a slight genre change.

I think I´ve come up with an organized way to go about this whole problem of mine. To be able to have a clear overview of the books I review I´ve decided to do weekly genre features ( sounds more complicated than it is ).

I´ve talked about publishing book reviews once a week. A month has 4 weeks. 4 reviews per month. That gives the opportunity to do genre weeks.
1st Wednesday of the month – Romance novel review
2nd Wednesday of the month – Fantasy review
3rd Wednesday – non-fiction review
4th Wednesday – other

Something along those lines. Call me weird, but that system kind of excites me. This also gives me a chance to spread out my reviews better. If I read more than one romance a month I can whip up reviews and pre-schedule them for the upcoming months.

So, basically, I can review everything I read without making radical changes on the blog.

Of course, I could just do whatever the flipping foo foo I want and publish reviews as I go but that would drive me nuts ( another habit I can´t kick- being blog organized )

I´m truly sorry for bothering you with this questionable first world problem. I´m 100% sure this sounds so insignificant to others. But for someone as anal as I am when it comes to my blog structure I need to have a plan that works around my schedule, and not against it.

Book blogging about one single genre hasn´t completely scratched my bookish itch.

Fingers crossed that this idea will work out for me ( and others, should anyone want to give this a go )

I guess that´s it for this week´s Mug Monday post. I hope you enjoyed.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you want to include your two cents. If not, comment anyways and tell me about your Monday! I´d love to chat.

Have a wonderful day.

Feel hugged.

What I´d Like To See More Of In Book Box Subscriptions

`Subscribe!`

`Get your box of bookish goods!`

I like book box subscriptions. They´re a wonderfully fun addition in our corrupt and twisted little bookish world. The stuff you receive with these boxes… Wow. It´s book mail extraordinaire! And they bring us book lovers together.. in a way… in a way that´s unknown to me.

Jess @Fiction No Chaser published a wonderful post titled Why Are We Obsessed With Book Boxes? and in her post, she made some really great points regarding these subscription boxes. If you haven´t already I´d recommend checking her post out as it´s great food for thought. While I was reading Jess´s post I couldn´t help but think of the actual purpose of these boxes and what the included items do for us book folk ( aside from giving us temporary joy ).

Unfortunately, many of these book subscription boxes don´t have a lot of useful bookish items. At least not for me. I´m sorry to say that, despite all the bookish goodness being sent out in cute little colorful boxes, I find it hard to use 90% of a box´s content.

This doesn´t mean book boxes are totally worthless. I´m sure many book-lovers are 100% satisfied with their monthly subscriptions. I mean- what’s not to love about a possible book, fan art, bookmarks, tea samples, candles, postcards, fan bracelets, and whatnot?

From what I´ve gathered, most book boxes are little bundles of book swag and the highlight is a book. Possibly a book and a mug. The rest is just swag- Promotional pieces.

Possible book box content ( seen from various providers ) for 1 book box

  • 2 bookmarks ( usually author/book tied = swag )
  • 1 magnet ( swag )
  • tea sample ( loose tea or bag tea )
  • bath & body product ( ? )
  • fan art ( in the form of a postcard or bookmark )
  • jewelry ( swag or fan art )
  • stickers ( swag )
  • buttons ( swag )
  • A book ( limited edition, hardcover, signed paperback )
  • A candle

At first glance, this looks like a shitload of products. Things appear to be worth the $ 29.00 + shipping.

When I see these items above I think of their practicality. I have no use for the majority of these items because I know for sure they´ll land somewhere where no one will ever admire them. I appreciate fan art from a distance. Having it in my home, though- I´m not the type to display fan art. Same with book tied jewelry. I´d never wear it. Stickers and buttons? Meeh. Not for me.

I´d never be able to fully appreciate a book box (anymore). I´m clearly not the targetted audience. Although, I wouldn´t mind purchasing one or two boxes a year if there were items I could use.

  • A mug. Not book tied but bookish. Seriously, this is something that will most definitely get used in my house.
  • A book. I know-shocking. But sometimes book boxes don´t have books. Just book swag and other things I don´t need.
  • A journal/notepad. Book people make notes, too. Why not throw in a cute journal?
  • A reading log. Because, why not?
  • Pens. This is something a person can never have enough of.
  • Tote bags. Always a fav. They come in handy.
  • Book sleeves. Now, that´s something a few could use. If not for a book then definitely to keep fragile objects from breaking.
  • How about bookmarks that aren´t book-tied?

The reason why we´ll never see book boxes with these items is because they´d be extremely expensive. Another reason why this type of book box would never roll is that they´re too specified- Put together to satisfy my personal bookish needs.

So, here´s a different solution:

Why not offer a book box shop where readers can put together their own boxes? This could excite more people and engage a larger book-loving crowd.

Unless someone actually offers this type of book box to the masses I´m better off purchasing a book online and buying bookish items on sites that offer more than what´s in an overpriced box.

Willow Winters Online Shop is a great place for readers if they who to purchase bookish products.

`Let me drink my coffee and just read.` mug. & Book Lover Office Bundle

Or, if you need more selection you could always lose your literary heart over at The Literary Gift Company – The one place where you can find A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G your bookish hearts desires.

I think you´d have to be a real dedicated book box fan and a fan of whatever bookish goods in those boxes to be able to appreciate everything.

P.S. 
The `Book Box` topic isn´t over yet! I´m sure you´ve noticed how I mentioned that book boxes are overpriced? Be sure to stick around for my upcoming post Are Book Boxes Worth Their Money? to find out if book boxes are overpriced or not.


What are your thoughts on Book Boxes? Are you subscribed to a book box company? Which boxes have you received? Would you order another box? Or, do you think this is bookish absurdity at its finest? Let me know in the comments below. ❤ I´d love to chat.


Thank you for reading this post. I truly appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day,

Much bookish love,

Morgana

Typical Book Blog Posts I Don´t Do

Book hauls, monthly reads, weekly themes, cover reveals, author interviews, blog tours, reviews, lists, How-to´s, discussions, creative posts, photography,… There´s an impressive list of things book bloggers can use to make their blogs a fantastic place to visit. That´s what every book blogger wants – To attract an audience with their awesome features. Everyone wants their work to be seen. Why else offer your platform to the public, right?

Just the other day, as I was sitting here rethinking my whole book blog concept, I thought about all the fun stuff other book bloggers do on their blogs- Basically the stuff I don´t do.

So many have monthly blog recaps at the end of each month. Quite a few have book haul features where they show off their newest book purchases and talk about them. While nearly 99% of all bloggers I´ve checked out basically do the same type of book blog posts I somehow can´t be bothered to jump in on the fun and do exactly the same things everyone else is doing.

 

Monthly Blog Recaps? They´re popular, sure. And clever, too. You talk about every post you uploaded in the last month and link each post to the recap. This generates more views by helping people ( who missed out on the posts when they were originally uploaded ) find your posts. Makes sense. I tried to include this feature in my blog concept but can´t seem to warm up to it. It´s just so chewed up.

 

Book Hauls? Another popular thing many book bloggers do. The main reason why I´ve never included a book haul post in my concept is: I don´t see the point. To me, when someone does a book haul post they´re basically showing off what they bought. If you´re anything like me you don´t necessarily care if someone purchased 10 books or not. The worst book hauls are the YouTuber book hauls.

 

Weekly themes. Hold up! I´m actually a fan of these although they´d have to be original to make me appreciate them. Once I see a Manic Monday, Topic Tuesday, etc. I´ll move on.

 

Cover Reveal Posts.  ( and this is coming from a book cover judge extraordinaire ) I don´t think these are necessary. Many book bloggers make a point out of revealing book covers for upcoming book releases ( oftentimes months ahead ). Some have a whole category dedicated to this feature while others reveal covers sporadically. This is just another boring marketing strategy from authors and publishers to stir up the hype. They´re popular but they do absolutely nothing for me. Think about what happens to these cover reveal posts after a book´s been on the market after 2 years. But hey- this is just my take on the feature. NOTE: I used to do this feature a loooong time ago. Too bad I can´t remember when I last did a cover reveal post.

 

How-Tos. Gotta love a helpful post, right? Especially the book blog How-To posts about How To Blog, How To Gain More Followers, How To Write A Review, etc

The reason why I don´t do these types of posts is that I don´t feel I´m in the position to give advice. Book blogging isn´t something that comes with a manual. This is more of a trial by error sort of thing. Because what worked for someone doesn´t mean it´ll automatically work for you. I get that there are people wanting help and that people are willing to lend a hand but at the end of the day, it´s still trial by error. I also see another problem with this: When you receive advice from a book blogger who already has a decent following you can quickly become frustrated when you follow their directions to the T and don´t see immediate results.

The only positive thing I can get out of a How-To book blog post is when it´s something for how to build a book castle ( or something like that ).

 

Book Blog Tours… * Clears throat * I hate to bring this one up again ( since it gave me a good batch of gray hair when I first posted about this ). Many book bloggers love to add these posts to their blogs. I don´t. You´re welcome to read my reasons in my Why I Don´t Join Book Blog Tours Anymore blog post.

 

My greatest ( and only ) goal as a book blogger is to be original. And by this, I mean adding my personal touch to my book blog. I want to be transparent. Show the good and bad sides but still include the essentials. Weekly themes are a great way to show off creativity which is why I would always include something creative such as photography, discussion posts and maybe something that´s associated with reading e.g music, food…

I´d rather have someone read about my bookish experiences and maybe take something from that instead of giving direct advice.

As for book reviews– I´m not going to lie- I hate typing reviews but I still do it because I believe it belongs to a book blog. So, I´ll continue to publish reviews. * sigh *

 

This is not me saying other book bloggers are idiots for using these typical popular book blog features. No. I believe everyone should use whatever they think suits their purpose. If you´re a book blogger who´s been doing monthly blog recaps and you enjoy them then I´m more than happy for you. Everyone has their own agenda, including myself. I follow book blogs who are dead set on working the popular features and I think they´re doing a wonderful job. It works for them but not for me.

 


 

What about your blog? Do you use weekly or monthly themes? Do you include any of the blog post features I´ve mentioned above? I´d love to know your thoughts on the subject and to find out what special features you have.


 

As always… Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope you enjoyed. ❤

 

Many bookish hugs,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Charity For Children Gone Weird

 

Today I´d like to dabble into something hardly anyone knows but something that I feel very strongly about- Book charity.

Just recently, something happened that got me in such a mood.

As none of you know, my daughters and I give secondhand and new books to children around the Christmas holidays. Sometimes we pick a random family from the village we live in or we pack boxes and bring them to children´s hospitals, orphanages, schools or Kindergartens.

I make an announcement in a few village Facebook groups asking for people to dump their unwanted children´s books at my doorstep ( to which many gladly do ) and I take a few days off to sort them out by age groups before making small bundles and driving them to their new homes.

The most crucial part of all this is reassuring the families ( who´ve donated books ) that their hand-me-downs truly reach their destinations. So, every step is documented via pictures and journals. I even invite the families over to see how we prepare the goods ( which they often decline ) and even encourage them to accompany me when I make deliveries. Some families don´t bother with the evidence anymore because I´ve won their trust. Others… Sometimes I don´t know why I even bother anymore.

While quite a few trust me, many families don´t and really want to know where their books go. Not that big of a deal. I´ll give you all the information I have. I create little info folders where every step is documented, even my private costs ( a copy of my driver logbook). I figured these people want to see if I´m just looking for a way to sack the books for myself, which I´m not. All this is 100% non-profitable. I´m actually spending money rather than making any off of this. So, the more information I provide the better. This year, for the very first time, I found out that one particular family didn´t care about the donation process. They only had one worry.

 

“Which kids are getting my books?”

 

I admit- This is a question I wasn´t prepared for. Which kids? Well… kids. The small people who look so vibrant and full of energy. The ones who scratch their asses with toys as they put curses on adults ( a little description of my own kids ). I replied with my standard answer: “Kids who need them.”

 

“That´s not what I asked. I want to know what type of children are receiving my books.”

 

At this point, I hadn´t the slightest clue what they wanted to hear. Or, my mind simply refused to acknowledge the hidden message behind their words. But don´t worry. I caught up eventually.

 

“You´re not giving my books to foreigners, are you?”

 

And there we had it. The old racist topic. In all honesty- I´m not interested in having this discussion with anyone, ever. I´m a foreigner in this country, too. All I want is to give children in need a chance at having great books. Before I acted out of tact I pulled my “be nice” card. “I can assure you, all books will go to children living in this country if that´s what you´re asking.”  The power of careful wording.

My reply was enough to pacify them. They graciously handed their used children´s books over and left, but not without telling me they wanted a full report on which `children ` received their used books. I was a little dishearted after having had such an encounter. A case of wine was what I needed to dull the pain in my chest.

My husband and I had a long chat about this afterward. He said I should´ve told them to shove their books up their asses. Trust me, I was close but I couldn´t. I thought misleading them would give me more satisfaction. The truth is- It didn´t. I´m still fuming at the unfairness of the situation. So, people don´t want a foreign kid to have their used books but every other kid in need is allowed? A child is a child. Last I checked, books aren´t racist.

This year I planned to donate two boxes to a Safe House for women and their children who´ve fled their abusive homes. I don´t know if there are foreigners there or not. There probably are. Do I care? Not one bit. To be honest- I don´t always have the pleasure of seeing children unpack the boxes. Most of the time the boxes are taken and brought to an extra room due to security reasons. Which is okay.

But sometimes I´m able to see kids unpack a box and when I do there´s nothing more heartwarming than being able to see their smiles.

Book charity for children is a wonderful thing. It helps the community. It gives children a chance at reading the latest release or a popular book if their families can´t afford them. I´m not feeding the world but I´m giving what I can and that is a good book.

Now that a few more days have passed I still can´t say I´m over this issue. It´s still dishearting. This one encounter feels like a setback in so many ways. I´m questioning everything.

Could I have handled the situation better? Should I have refused their books? Americans aren´t popular over here at the moment so if I had acted as I had originally wanted and said the things that needed to be said – What would´ve been the outcome? Worst case scenario: My kids could become targets. I don´t want that. Not over books.

Is all this book charity worth it if I have to deal with these people? Do I want to put up with this? Oddly enough, I do. Not because of the parents but because of the children receiving these books.

I´m a firm believer that everyone should have easy access to books.

 

Sorry for the long rant. I´m just saddened by all this. Let´s hope I won´t have to deal with these people next year.

 

Thank you for reading my blog post. I really appreciate the time you just invested.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming A Bilingual Book Blogger

English. French. German. Spanish.

 

The languages I speak fluently. I guess this can be blamed on the fact that I live here, in Germany. How I would love to blame this on ( what I lovingly nicknamed to be ) the “European curse”. Everything´s so multicultural here that it´s impossible to speak just one language. It´s not the curse, though. I´m a cultural mutt who happens to have a knack for speaking languages.

“You should become a translator!”, they said when I first started applying for jobs. Back then, I couldn´t have thought of anything more boring than translating. Now, I kind of regret not having gone that route. To be able to speak four languages does have its perks. It comes in handy when going on vacation, watching TV shows in OT, etc. But with perks also come downfalls: Out of the four languages, I´ve only mastered the art of writing in two. English ( which is my native language ) and Spanish. German and French? Not so much, if at all. So, that´s my personal burden. This explains why I only blog in English – Why I only read English written books.

Just recently, I started to dabble into German romances. Never, not even in my wildest dreams, did I believe I´d pick up a romance written by a German romance author. I mean, why would I? The language is hard enough as it is to speak. Reading a German romance novel would take me months, or so I thought.

Since I´ve been spending lots of time in bookstores lately ( gotta support your local bookstore ) I´ve been noticing lots of new romance releases by German authors squished in between translated novels by American writers. Which is great for German readers. It´s nice to see the niche branching out over here and not just in the U.S and U.K.

 

German romance writers are stepping up their game.

 

It was only a matter of time before I´d stop before one of the German romance titles. One thing I´ve noticed was:  German romance novels definitely know how to grab someone´s attention with their covers. Bright colors and great contrasts with fun elements ( glitter, metallics, prints ). Personally, I feel like the Germans have visual book marketing down to a T. You can´t walk past a beautiful book cover (s).

I began to think. What if I started to read a German romance novel? But then a little voice inside my head reminded me that I´d only be reading a German book, not reading & reviewing it. Because I´m a total disaster when it comes to writing anything in German. The book blogger in me wants to review everything I read, though. It´s become a second nature for me to give feedback. How weird would it feel to only read and not review, especially for a new release?

So, I asked my husband. He´s German. He´d be able to help me with my feedback, right? “I think I want to write reviews in German.”, I started. The look on his face said more than he did. “Please, don´t.”, was his reply. I couldn´t help but laugh at his horrified expression. “I´m serious. I think it wouldn´t hurt to try. Maybe you can spell-check my reviews before I upload them.” 

After a short, panicked discussion ( hubby was panicking, not me ) he agreed to help me out. We agreed on one German book review per month. That´s more than acceptable for me. If I´m honest, I don´t think I´d be capable of doing more.

So, that´s it. The start of a new chapter in my book blogging career. A new challenge. I can officially call myself a bilingual book blogger now. Even if the majority of my book reviews will be in English, I´ll have one German review each month to offer.

Do I have any doubts about my new blog feature? Kind of, yes. I´m normally a confident person. I´m nowhere near confident when I even think about writing in a different language, though. Maybe what I´m feeling isn´t self-doubt. Maybe it´s just a weird sense of excitement for the unknown. Something like being nervous in a positive way. Who knows what´ll happen. I might end up filing for a divorce after the first review. Perhaps I´ll slay the German review thing. Whatever will happen, I´ll be prepared.

 


 

What about you? Do you speak more than one language? If so, which ones do you speak? Do you blog in a different language? Let´s chat. ❤


 

Thank you so much for reading this blog post. I hope you enjoyed.

Share the book love,

Morgana