I have a confession to make.
I fell off my 6 month book-buying ban with a crash. The train derailed from the tracks and set ablaze, leaving behind nothing but twisted hunks of metal and the smell of failure.
Also success, because: I GOT SO MANY BOOKS.
The plan was always to hop off the train smoothly, and I’ve been biding my time, waiting until the right station to get off on. That station?
New York City.
I’ve been working and saving for months to make my first ever trip to the USA one where I didn’t have to hold back, didn’t feel guilty for spending money and could treat myself as much as I wanted.
And boyyy did I treat myself.
Not only did I attend BookCon (where I got 22 free books), but I also purchased 15 extras. Mostly hardcovers. Books that I didn’t necessarily need but really wanted. I made some tough decisions, I put a few down that I could have bought and that ‘self-control’ meant that I did actually manage to get my suitcase on the plane. Which I consider an achievement.
Imagine roughly 22kg of books. Now imagine an average sized human being lugging THIS MANY BOOKS AROUND. (Although to be fair, my boyfriend did squeeze 6 of the hardbacks into his suitcase and took one for the team). I appreciate him. I appreciate my also appreciate my new books, now happy and comfy in their new home.
To make this haul a bit easier, because it’s going to be a long one, I’ll split it up into a few different parts- mainly finished copies that I bought and then the ARCs I got at BookCon. If you are just interested in seeing one or the other, please feel free to skip to the bit you want to see – I mostly just waffle about each book and why I’ve picked it.
With that explained, LET’S DO THIS THING!!
PART 1: THE BOOKS I BOUGHT
The day after arriving in New York City, I was desperate to hit the bookstores. Whilst my heart was set on Barnes & Nobels – luck wasn’t on my side. The one we ended up visiting (following instructions) was a small campus-based University one that happened to be closed for the summer. Oof. Desperate to cheer me up (as I was jet lagged, warm and hANGRY) my boyfriend found the location to the next bookstore on my list, which just so happened to be the Strand! Here’s everything I bought from there:
The Forgetting & The Knowing by Sharon Cameron
As soon as I saw these beauties, I knew they were meant to be mine. I’ve had The Forgetting on my TBR since it came out in 2016, but I’ve never seen it in a UK bookstore or found it for a reasonable price online. I even tried to get the audiobook at some point but ended up hating the narrator’s voice- but I’m so glad I finally got these two because they sound SO FREAKING GOOD.
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
I feel a little bit guilty about this purchase, but basically I really dislike the UK cover for this one and so I pre-planned to pick it up whilst I was in the states. BUT, I also have a copy on Audible and I’m about 3 hours in (which has taken me around a month), and therefore I don’t technically need another copy. I do love the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon though, so I don’t feel too guilty.
The Bone Charmer by Brenna Shields
This was 100% a ‘it sounds good so I need it’ kind of purchase. I hadn’t heard of it beforehand and it wasn’t one I’d previously planned to get but what can I say..? It slipped and fell into my basket, I swear!
Love From A-Z by S.K Ali
I’ve been on a super-strong contemporary binge lately so when I heard about this one releasing I knew I was going to pick it up eventually. I just didn’t realise it’d be so soon and at a time where my TBR is already so big. Oops?
After visiting a few other places on the first day, we ended up too jet lagged to continue and crawled back to our beds ready to sleep for hours. Then the next day came and it was time for another day of bookstores and happiness. We went to Barnes and Nobel first, where I got the first 5 books and then visited Books of Wonder sometime later in the day where I restrained myself and only picked up 2 because I could barely walk by that point (I’d been carrying 5 books for a few hours as well as other stuff) and I needed to be sensible. I originally picked up 4 bUT I PUT TWO DOWN!
Stormdancer, Kinslayer, Endsinger by Jay Kristoff
I was umm-ing and aaah-ing a lot about these three. On the one hand, I didn’t want to get stuck in England with only the first book and have to wait days to get the second one if I loved it. On the other hand, if I didn’t love it (and, admittedly, I have a marmite relationship with each of Jay Kristoff’s other books) then I’d bought 3 books that would just sit and look pretty. As a side note, they do an excellent job of that. However, I reasoned that I could always look after them and sell them on if I needed to- and I had a bit of time at the bookstore to read the first couple of pages of the first one and get the feel for it. They definitely intrigued me enough, but I’m really curious- have any of you guys read this trilogy? Please tell me what you think if you have!
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
Depending on what day you ask me, I either absolutely adore the cover or can’t stand it. I always love the blossoms but sometimes the drawing looks too childish, or at least like it was done on the Paint programme in 2005. It also upsets me that the letters aren’t uniform or balanced. I think it’s just me being picky, but either way I did hear about this one earlier this year and wanted to try and grab it at some point. In America seemed like the ideal moment.
Storm of Locusts
I’ve been desperate to read Trail of Lightning for a few months now (you know when you want to read something so badly it’s all you think about and makes you struggle to read other books?) but I knew the sequel was coming out soon and I didn’t want to end up in the same situation as the rest of the fans who had to wait months/years for the sequel. So I withheld myself… until now. I BOUGHT THE SEQUEL! I can finally get stuck in!!
Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
So I ‘slipped’ and picked up the sequel to Furyborn which I could have easily got back home. But I had dollars to spend and it was so pretty and I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be able to find a hardcover of it in local stores. Which meant I had to get this one… right?!
Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
OKAY SO I KNOW YOU’RE ALL JUDGING ME RIGHT NOW BUT LET ME SAY THIS: Yes, I do already own it. Yes, I’ve only read 40% of it and it’s pretty much my favourite book every. Yes, I’m terrified of finishing it and being stuck in a slump for the rest of my life as nothing else will ever compare. Yes, I’m also terrified of ruining the Illumicrate exclusive edition I have of this book so my plan was always to get another copy. I hate the UK paperback design and this one was there on the shelf and IT’S SIGNED and honestly I couldn’t resist. I’m not ashamed. Now I really don’t have an excuse not to finish it. AAAAAH.
A few days later, someone at BookCon recommended this secondhand bookstore (called BookOff) and I had to go. So I waited until close to the end of my holiday when I needed to use my spending money up and went to see what they had for me. I was not disappointed.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
This is a brand new release that I found on sale at the secondhand store, and I couldn’t resist buying it when it was so cheap. I’ll admit, I have a hate-hate relationship with pretty much every ACTUAL witch book I’ve ever read (so not fantasy witches like in a Truthwitch or Harry Potter but more based of real witches in the real world). For some reason, it’s a curse. I really want to like them but I never do, but who knows? This might break me out of this seemingly never-ending rut and be the witch book I finally do fall in love with. If not, I know a tonne of people who would appreciate it so I can always pass it on. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A Nielsen
I listened this one a few years back on Audiobook and I remember giving it a 5 star rating, and there was a like-new copy for $7 and I couldn’t believe my luck. Hook, line and sinker. I’m really happy to finally own a physical copy, and I’m pretty sure there is a sequel I’ll have to look out for too. Not until I do my reread though (which is totally happening sometime soon).
City of Bastards by Andrew Schvatz
Though most of my books are paperback, for some reason I have the first book of this series (Royal Bastards) in hardback and that means I have to get the rest of the books in hardback. I’ve been putting it off because of my book buying ban, but this copy was also only $7 and now I have matching editions which makes me DELIGHTED. It’s so incredibly satisfying when series match. SO. SATISFYING.
PART 2: THE ARCS I GOT AT BOOKCON
I know this is the bit you’ve all been waiting for so I’m not going to type out a load of waffle that you aren’t interested in. (Although if you do want a ‘BRIT AT BOOKCON’ post with how everything was please do let me know!)
As soon as the doors were opened and the crowds were let in I rushed towards the Hachette booth with one ultimate goal: Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan. Not only did I get super lucky and end up 11th in line but they were also doing a surprise drop of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alex Harrow, so that ended up being my first ARC of the day. Weirdly, it was one I tried to request over here in England but never got a reply back for- but at least I’ve got it now! And I’ll do the best review and prove that I’m worth sending ARCs to in the future. Or, that’s my theory at least. BUT: I GOT GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW. I was super lucky to get a Girls of Paper and Fire ARC at YALC last year so I’ve been with Lei since the very beginning, and I can’t describe how much I fell in love with Natasha’s writing and how I found a part of myself within it all. I’ve talked about it so much that I’ve been invited onto the Girls of Paper and Fire UK paperback release blog tour, and I’m so incredibly excited to revisit the world again in my reread.
After I grabbed these 2 I moved on to the 2 hour long Harper Collins queue with my boyfriend, where I got both Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron and Criers War by Nina Varela. I had to fight in a mob to get them, but it all worked out in the end so I’m very happy. Next I placed my boyfriend in the queue for Gideon The Ninth by Tamsin Muir whilst I head over to grab a copy of Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, one of my all time favourite authors. Anything she puts out, I’ll get. A Touch of Gold was pure perfection that nothing else will ever touch- and I can now officially say Tiger Queen is just as excellent (I’ll talk about it more in my wrap up).
Then it was time to meet my ALL TIME FAVOURITE INSTA-BUY author, Jennifer L Armentrout. I cried. I laughed. It was beautiful, but I was a mess. I managed to get The Burning Shadow though so I really have nothing to complain about. As a UK blogger, I never thought I’d get to meet her- as she’s not made a trip over here whilst I’ve been a fan – but I did. It was glorious. Whilst I did all that, my boyfriend was waiting in the queue for Shadow Frost by Coco Ma and Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Creswell. They actually ended up running out of copies by the time he got close to the authors and started taking addresses so that they could send more out to people who missed them (which is very sweet), but after hearing we were from England the kind publicist took pity on him and grabbed us the display copies (because shipping to England is hecka expensive so otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get a copy). My boyfriend promised that I’d share the word about both books (AND I WILL) in return, so expect a review soon. Also a gushy thank-you on twitter.
After drying my eyes and getting my hands to stop shaking, I moved to join the ever-growing (2 hour long) queue for Reverie by Ryan La Sala. I didn’t get to talk much to him as we were kind of rushed along, but it was nice to get a chance to meet him – if briefly- after seeing so many of his tweets on twitter. He was exactly like how he is online.
Another day, another chaotic buzz of activity as we tried to get the books that I wanted. Following the schedule made it easy enough, but the amount of people there didn’t aid us in our quest. I figured that Sunday would be quieter (and by that, I mean less people) – but that wasn’t necessarily the case. There might have been less of us, but it was definitely more poorly organised, with less queues and more mobs. Ouch. Saying that, me and Brendan were unprepared for just how bad it’d be- making the morning pretty unsuccessful when it came to my list. Luckily I managed to be in the right place at the right time to grab both Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor and Technically You Started It by Lana Johnson. I definitely did a happy dance about those.
After my celebration I went to listen to an author singing a few songs to promote her new book A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pilsner before joining the queue for The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz. I didn’t actually manage to get a ticket for this one as I got pushed to the back of a large crowd, but luckily my boyfriend is taller and stronger than I and managed to stay near the front of the mob to score me a copy. I then went to meet Jennifer L Armentrout at my official ticketed signing (yes, again) and bought a copy of Storm and Fury to get signed. I CAN’T BELIEVE I MET HER TWICE IN TWO DAYS. In the queue I met a super sweet person who gave me their copy of Rated that they didn’t want after hearing that it was the next thing I was going to, but she already had it from her VIP pack. That meant I could join the queue for I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal, which looks like an absolutely beautiful book. Whilst I was sat calmly in a well organised queue, my boyfriend got crushed in a mob.
And came out with American Royals by Katherine McGee. My second priority of the weekend (after Girls of Storm and Shadow). By now, I was mostly done with the day and decided to wander over to the Orbit books area to see if they had spare copies of Queen of the Conquered by Kheryn Callander from the day before and lo and behold, they did! I had meant to go earlier in the day but completely forgot until close to the end, so I was super happy that they still had one left for me. SO. HAPPY.
I finished off the day by meeting up with someone from one of the BookCon chats I’m in who ended up with multiple copies of Stepsister by Jennifer Donelly, and she was so sweet and offered it up to me (who had missed the drop that morning), so I ended up with one of the ones I was bummed about missing.
What a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.