My First Official Book Blogger Meet-Up

I thought I´d never see the day come when I´d willingly go to a book blogger meet-up. Yet, here I am- having survived what I´d call `Therapy For Book Bloggers`. Ha, just kidding.

 

 

So, yeah, I went to one of those meet-ups. As in- I actually squeezed my derriére in a pair of long-forgotten & unloved jeans and left the comfort of my four walls. Because I was invited. And what do you do when someone asks you to grace their party with your presence? You go.

Usually, when people talk about book blogger get-togethers, all I hear about is how nice they were.

“I had a really nice time.” Is what I get to hear. Now, for me, that statement can mean a lot of things. `Nice` could be the little sister of shit, for all I know.  It could be a genuine response though, as well. Who knows. I was never apart of any book blogger meet-up before.

There´s one reason why I never joined any book blogger evenings. I live in Germany. This country isn´t exactly known for being a book blogger hotspot. I´m sure there are tons of book bloggers here but they´re not as widely spread or make themselves known.

Besides- Me, an older American speaking book blogger fossil who blogs in English about romance novels? Most book bloggers I know are 20-something innovative spring chickens who aren´t dying to spend time with a 37-year-old. Mainly because I´m… old.

 

 

Well, someone I know thought it was a good idea to have me at a book blogger get-together. So, I went. And what happened was far more awesome than I could´ve ever imagined.

  1. Eight book bloggers, myself included. I only knew one person and she was the one who dragged me to the party. All 7 book bloggers blogged about different genres, which was such a relief to know. As I later found out, the others were just as relieved. I was the only romance book blogger.
  2. Book bloggers usually have the reputation of being introverts. Shy, quiet, always reading. The bunch I met with were far from introverted. Jesus Christ and his twelve buddies… I was surrounded by a group of bookish extroverts and I loved every minute of it.
  3. I wasn´t the oldest or the youngest of the bunch. Normally, large age differences don´t bother me. You can always find some common ground with a person. There´s only a problem when a large age gap shows. And this time I was terrified. I mean- I´ll meet with younger book bloggers but 7 of them? What if they´re all still in school? Conversation material will most likely run out quickly since there´s only so much you can talk about ( unless someone is willing to hear about the horrors of adulthood/parenthood and gardening ). This doesn´t mean I think less of younger people. I´m just saying that at some point, an age difference can´t be ignored.  Thankfully, the group I met with was between 29-42 years old. I felt comfortable instead of feeling like a group mother.
  4.  Book talk. We spent quite a lot of time talking about genres and our favorite books. We discussed reviews and discussion posts, stats and followers. The things that mean something to book bloggers. We talked about how we could improve ourselves, our blogs and the community. This happened during dinner.

 

Well, guess what? The minute dinner was over I thought our meet-up was done. It wasn´t. I quickly found out that dinner was only preparation for what was to come- Bar hopping. I had to call the husbutt and tell him there was a good chance the night would have an open end.

To make a long story short: It was 5 a.m when I called my brother to pick me up. He wasn´t happy. But I was ( since he was the only one who picked up his phone at stupid o´clock).

 

 

Where does the book blogger therapy fit into all this? Well, as the drinks kept flowing, the mouths became looser than they already were. The 7 became chattier, myself included. All of a sudden we all complained about nasty comments and crappy books. We developed strategies during cocktail hour on how to eliminate self-proclaimed book editors who cause more damage to self-published authors than not.

Through all the hours spent partying with the book blogger gang I realized a few things:

 

  • German book bloggers are full of surprises ( bookish and non-bookish)
  • Book blogger problems seem to be universal
  • Book bloggers need to meet more often
  • Replacing cocktail names with book titles is GENIUS

 

It´s one thing to vent to your significant other/your parents/your pet. I mean, that works too if no one else is around. Venting online is also good. But to have someone in front of you who actually knows what you´re talking about is something else. I highly recommend book blogger get-togethers because they´re not only fun and informative, they´re also great for your mind´s peace.

One book blogger mentioned a wonderful idea for a blog post and I immediately asked if I could use her idea. I vowed to give credit ( since credit needs to be given ). Her answer:

“Who hurt you?! Girl, you don´t need my permission nor do you need to give credit. We´re only brainstorming. Take the idea. Tweak it, mold it, throw it in the washer and see what happens. Just text me when you upload the blog post.”

 

My reaction.

 

 

That was just one tiny tidbit from the conversations we had. I was also able to take some great advice home to use for my blog.

 

  • Your blog is a reflection of yourself. 
  • If you have an idea get it out there. Don´t waste time overthinking it.
  • You´ll only make others happy if you change your content to avoid hate.
  • Book blog like there´s no tomorrow. 

 

So, yes. I had an awesome time. And yes, I´d gladly participate in another book blogger meet-up, especially with the group I met up with.


 

What about you? Have you been to a book blogger meet-up before? Do you prefer smaller or larger groups to meet? Or would you rather skip the whole thing and stay at home? Let me know in the comments below. Would love to chat. ❤ 

 

As always- Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoyed.

Share the book love, y´all.

Many hugs,

Morgana

 

Mug Monday & My Week

Hello and welcome to another beautiful Monday! I hope y´all are doing great.

Today I´m gonna give you a quick rundown on how my bookish and non-bookish week has been. But first… Let´s do a little mug feature.

 

20191012_1632537425485614853251306.jpg

 

Yupp. You´ve seen this mug before. I´ve featured this probably half a dozen times by now. With good reason, though. It, weirdly enough, color matches quite a few of my books. Which I find absolutely satisfying ( I´m a weirdo when it comes to colors ). The books, on the other hand, are unread treasures I decided to pull out from my bookshelf and dust off. * sigh * Let´s move on before this post becomes another TBR list rant, or worse… a TBR sob fest. I´m looking forward to reading these, though. Maybe now that I´ve removed the thick layer of dust… Maybe if I keep them on the coffee table I´ll feel compelled to read them ( That clearly didn´t work out. They´re already back in the shelves. ).

 

On to the non-bookish news:

Last week husbutt and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. Not our wedding anni ( that´s in March ) but the day we officially started dating. Hmm, I mean- The day I declared him my boyfriend. The weird part: He was the last to know. The whole village knew before he did. I fondly remember him calling me while I was at work, asking if we were dating because a friend of mine told him he was excited for us. I told him we were most definitely dating ( because you don´t kiss me without a reason ). He didn´t say much after that. I like to think his silence meant he was excited about having a long relationship with the unknown love of his life. Now, 19 years later, I know there can´t be any other guy who can love me more. If you ask him he´ll say he sensed that I was desperate and went along with everything and now it´s just too expensive to file for a divorce. Couple goals, y´all!

 

 

I won´t bother you with the rest of my non-bookish week. T´was uneventful, unless you´d like to read about my failures as a mom. That´s a whole other can I don´t think many are prepared to have opened.

 

Now, for the bookish stuff:

My blog changes are in the works. With any luck, I´ll be able to do a smooth and swift blog change by the end of the month/beginning of December.

Much to my regret, I haven´t been able to read much. Three books so far. But hey… I´m slowly getting back on track.

What I did manage to do was get rid of all the author swag I had laying around the house. I had countless buttons and stickers and bracelets and whatnot… All gone. After having read a post by Jess @Fiction No Chaser it dawned on me that I have a stupid amount of bookish swag I don´t use. Jess´ post Why Are We Obsessed With Book Boxes? gave me that final push and also gave inspiration for a new blog post: What I´d Like To See More In Book Subscription Boxes, which will possibly be uploaded this month. ( Thank you, Jess ❤ )

Speaking of blog posts- I might not have been busy reading ( I´m still ashamed ) but I was able to type up a few blog posts that felt awesome to write. This is definitely linked to the book blog changes I´ve been doing. My aim for the future is to be transparent in all bookish areas and to talk about anything book related I deem worthy of uploading. While I´m 100% positive I´ll be stepping on some people´s feet I can´t say I give a hoot anymore. Fun shouldn´t be held back by opinions.

Due to the pre-written blog posts I was able to pre-schedule more posts. From the looks of it, I won´t need to work much on the blog until after New Year.

 

 

That´s a wrap! I have nothing left to share. My main goal today was to not bore the living Hell out of you. My apologies if that didn´t work.

 

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Monday.

No matter where you are or what you´re doing… Feel hugged. Feel the bookish love.

 

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Book Bloggers, It´s okay…

This blog post is dedicated to all the book bloggers out there who feel insecure, unnoticed, misunderstood or wronged by the book blog community. For all the people who just started out and to those who´ve been around for some time… I hope you know that

its okay

 

  • It´s okay to feel frustrated or disappointed when something doesn´t work out. Whether it´s because you were denied the ARC you requested on NetGalley or your name wasn´t picked in a GIVEAWAY you participated in- It´s okay.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t have a private library or a reading nook. You can still consider yourself a passionate book person and that´s all that counts.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t have a massive book collection. You´re not any less of a reader if you only own 20 books.

 

  • It´s okay if your reviews aren´t professional. You don´t need an academic degree in order to type up your opinion on a book. Nor do you need any qualifications to be a book blogger.

 

  • It´s okay if you make mistakes. We all mess up once in a while. It doesn´t matter if you have typos/misspellings in your posts or if you accidentally collected incorrect info for your blog posts… It´s not the end of the world.

 

  • It´s okay if you´re not like others. You don´t need to be a carbon copy of someone else. The best you can ever be is yourself. If you copy another blogger you´ll be a shadow- One among many. You are not one of many. You are you.

 

  • It´s okay if your Bookstagram pic can´t compete with other Bookstagram features. Be proud of the content you upload.

 

  • It´s okay if your blog isn´t doing as well as you hoped it would. Growing your book blog can be a tiresome process. Just hang in there. Everything takes time, a little effort and love to grow- So does your blog and online presence.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t belong to the book clique. Book blogging isn´t high school. You´re doing this for yourself and your following.

 

  • It´s okay if someone doesn´t like your content. You can´t make everyone happy. Besides, that´s not your job.

 

  • It´s okay if you´ve never been to a book signing event. As a book blogger and as a dedicated fan of an author, you´re still relevant.

 

  • It´s okay if you haven´t read any classic literature. You aren´t worthless if you haven´t added Austen to your reading repertoire. You´re a reader with or without the old hams.

 

My dear Book Bloggers,

Always remember- It´s okay. There´s no wrong way to go about book blogging. There are no rules set in stone.

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. A private library takes up space. If you don´t have a spare room then that´s the way it is. Your reading space is your private comfort zone. Does it matter if your pillows match your cat? No. I don´t give a hoot if your socks are a shade lighter than your drapes and that the book you have wedged between your new fluffy socks matches the bedsheets… So, there´s that.

If you weren´t approved to read an ARC then see that as a blessing rather than a curse. This might mean you can´t have immediate access but it also means you have more time to browse for other books. GIVEAWAYS are often a hopeless case. Believe me when I say that you and hundreds of others are going through the same ordeal.

Many things in the book blogging community are unnecessary and overrated. Find out what works for you and what doesn´t. The important thing is- As long as whatever you do makes you happy then you´re doing something right. If you want to try something new out then go for it. Succeed or fail. Learn from your achievements and mistakes. Read books that make you happy instead of reading what you think others will approve of. Include profanity in your blog posts if you feel the need to or keep things as clean as a whistle if that´s what makes you happy. Don´t let other book bloggers tell you what´s wrong or right. Don´t let them make you feel insecure because they think they have a picture-perfect online presence and you don´t. You don´t need it.

So, it´s okay if your book blogger life has some crooked edges. You´re doing just fine.

Much love,

Morgana

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

A huge shoutout goes to Jonny @Jaunts & Haunts for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! I´m sending you loads of virtual chocolate and giving you many hugs for even thinking of me in the first place.

 

 

If you haven´t already make sure to shower Jonny with lots of love because he deserves every ounce of it.

 

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

 

The Rules:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.

– Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

– Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

– List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog

 

#1   What was the last book you strongly disliked?

Oooh, that would be `You` by Caroline Kepnes. It was one of those books I completely forgot I bought but then spotted it again, got excited, had high hopes, then ended up being so disappointed that I had to call my mom.

 

You

 

 

#2   How does your star rating system work for your reviews (if you use one)?

I use a 5-star rating system for my reviews that´s hopefully easy to understand.

5 stars: The best book existing.

4 stars: T´was great.

3 stars: Could´ve been better / Could´ve been worse.

2 stars: Nope.

1 star:  Nope nope nope nope.

 

#3   What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I´d say pizza with extra cheese and sausage. Or pizza with prosciutto and thick chunks of shaved parmesan. I would actually kill for a pizza right now.

 

#4  Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters, or a boring plot with amazing characters?

Since I would end up giving either a lower rating I´d say neither.

 

#5   How many books are you currently reading, and which one is your favorite so far?

I can´t read more than one book at a time. I get confused really quick.

 

#6   What was the last book review you posted?

The last review I posted was for Book Review: How The States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

How the states got their shape

 

Not necessarily a genre I typically review but.. a book is a book, right? And this one was worth writing a review for.

 

#7   Do you prefer MG, YA, NA, or adult books?

YA, NA, and adult books have ( more or less ) always been my go-to genres. Nowadays I´m not really feeling any YA love so I´ll go with NA and adult books.

 

#8   Is there a popular author you’re NOT interested in reading anything by? (Elaborate if you’re comfortable doing so!)

I´m going to team up with Jonny on this one. J.K. Rowling. I have yet to read one of her books. I just can´t be bothered. The world she created is probably great but it doesn´t interest me… like, at all. I did try to watch the movies, though. Paid good money to fall asleep 3 times in a row at the movie theater.

And Cassandra Claire. Although, I think she´d fall into the “popular author I´m not interested in reading anything anymore” category.

 

#9   What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?

Again- I´m with Jonny. I´d really love to see more LGBT characters in books.

 

#10  Do you listen to music while reading?

Aaaaaaah! No. * hides face * I suck at multitasking. I can do one or the other but never both. But when I take blog breaks I tend to listen to music. Does that count?

 

#11  Do you prefer book twitter or bookstagram?

 

Bookstagram + Me

=

 

 

Twitter + Me

=

 

I´ll go with Twitter. Lol.

 

That´s about it, my dear bookish Padawans. I hope I didn´t bore you too much.

I Nominate:

Everyone. I´m terrible at nominating anyone in particular. Besides- Doesn´t everyone deserve a Sunshine Blogger Award?

And because I´m so original *snorts loud* I´m going to copy Jonny´s Questions. Don´t forget to tag me so I can see your awesome answers ❤

 

  1. What was the last book you strongly disliked?
  2. How does your star rating system work for your reviews (if you use one)?
  3. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
  4. Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters or a boring plot with amazing characters?
  5. How many books are you currently reading, and which one is your favorite so far?
  6. What was the last book review you posted?
  7. Do you prefer MG, YA, NA, or adult books?
  8. Is there a popular author you’re NOT interested in reading anything by? (Elaborate if you’re comfortable doing so!)
  9. What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?
  10. Do you listen to music while reading?
  11. Do you prefer book twitter or bookstagram?

 

 

 

It´s Time For A Book Blog Change

 

Here are a few questions I´ve been asking myself about my blog.

  • Why am I not feeling my blog?
  • Should I change my blog´s theme? 
  • Should I just keep my theme and give my blog a decorative make-over?
  • What about my weekly themes?

 

Was I asking myself these questions because I was slowly getting bored with blogging? No. That´s impossible. Or, maybe it´s not such a far fetched thought. Maybe, deep down, I don´t like my blog. I needed answers. I needed some opinions.

Over the past months, I´ve spoken with a few people about this little first-world problem of mine. People whose opinions I highly value. Some are book bloggers, some are internet gurus who´re basically married to their MacBooks. I wanted to know if they were able to see why I wasn´t feeling my own creations. I asked for each to take a look at my blog and point out what they think needed to be tossed. I asked for them to not hold back with their opinions on my design, my graphics, my layout, and even my weekly themes.

 

I was ready for critique. I wasn´t ready for a full-on bash parade. 

 

What everyone agreed on was the header.  “That´s gotta go.” Of course, I was butt hurt after having heard their critique. “You´re running a book blog. I don´t see any books.”, a few said. I immediately went into defense mode:

“The books are in the content. I have the word `book´ in my blog name.” 

Which brings us to the next critique point. One that had me wishing for a bucket of Ben & Jerry´s chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream.  My blog name.

” Morgana´s Book Box is long. It´s not easy to remember.”, three people kindly pointed out. Okay, fine. I saw their point. Not saying I liked what they said but I got the picture.

“What´s with the bitmoji images?”, a few asked while they took my blog apart. Well, that´s just a smoother version of myself. You know, sans wrinkles, dark circles under my eyes, pimples, skin discoloration, scars… Need I go on? Photoshop is my second worst enemy so… Why not use bitmoji, right?

Needless to say- There was a long list of get-rid-of´s. But why? All I asked for was for them to help me figure out why I wasn´t feeling my blog´s makeup. I took their opinions to heart. My ego was bruised. I bought myself a pint of cookies & cream from Häagen Dasz because I had an emotional emergency. I thought I´d never recover from their honesty. Be honest but don´t fucking slay me.

Six out of six people told me my concept was outdated. Copied, chewed up and dull.

“You´re basically doing what everyone else is doing.” * nod * So is everyone else. Which isn´t a terrible thing. You can only do so much with a book blog.

In hindsight- they were all right.

  • Weekly blog themes work but they don´t work for everyone.
  • Animated selfies are not the real deal.
  • Blogs are personal.

 

The worst part, for me, was when all said they wouldn´t follow my blog if we weren´t close. Which says a lot, if you ask me. They all agreed that my content was decent but that everything else needed more life.

Yes, I´ve been doing this concept for years. It´s a system that´s always worked. Why shouldn´t it continue to work, you know? They had an answer for that, too. One I don´t want to repeat or else I might feel the need to get another pint of ice-cream.

I asked for opinions and that´s exactly what I got. Now, I had two options:

  • Ignore the critique and suggestions on how to improve my blog
  • Think about everything and maybe make a few adjustments

I decided on giving the suggestions that were given to me a try. Some of my friends had great ideas I´d love to try out. Maybe the harsh critique was necessary.

Maybe I have been stuck in an endless book blogging loop. Maybe I need a break. Or a drink. Ice-cream would be good right now.

So, with all that being said, I guess you´ll see some crazy blog changes in the future. It´s definitely worth a try. I´ll probably remove some themes, change my reviews, add some new features… Who knows. Maybe I´ll start feeling my blog again. What I do know is that I won´t be changing my blog name.


 

Let´s chat: Do you think your blog needs a make-over? Have you ever asked for someone´s opinion regarding your blog? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to discuss this. ❤


 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day and don´t forget to share the book – love.

Morgana