Waiting on Wednesday #26

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
IIWYG
Book Link: 
Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads
The book tells the story of Amanda Hardy, who moves to a small town in Tennessee to live with her father. She wants to make friends and fit in, but Amanda has a secret: she used to be Andrew, and fears that the truth could cost her her new life, and her new love.

My Thoughts
So excited for this book. There is so few books about trans teenagers and I think there needs to be a whole lot more. Trans teenagers need to know & feel that they aren’t alone in the world. I cannot wait to read this book. Plus, I’m so in love with the cover, it’s not even funny. It’s simple, but eye-catching.

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

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Book Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Published Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I was pretty sure I’d love it, but I was horribly unprepared for the rush of emotions that overtook me as I read it. I wasn’t prepared to have to frequently walk away from the book to keep from exploding in anger. I wasn’t expecting to get angrier and angrier as the book continued.

But I did.

Listen, it is never okay to take advantage of someone who has been drinking or is otherwise incapable of giving consent. I don’t care what someone is wearing. It’s not okay no matter what.

Got it? Good.

I definitely got an All The Rage feel from this book, but this book made me angrier in ten minutes than All The Rage made me in one day. I was utterly horrified, heartsick and livid all at once and by the time I finished the book, I was in tears. Sad tears & angry tears and my stomach was in knots.

By now you all should be aware of my disdain of high school athletes getting away with pretty much anything. It’s disgusting and infuriating. It’s even worse in a small town. Here, high school athletes are regarded as “kings” and “queens” and anyone who tries to change that, is automatically labelled a “troublemaker”

In this book we have everyone from the small store owner, Bonnie to the coaches of the sports teams villifying Stacey. How dare she press charges on these “good boys from good Christian families”

Vomit.

I cannot say enough amazing things about our protagonist, Kate. She didn’t just sit back and watch things go to crap. She questioned things, people and even her own thoughts about that night. She knew Stacey was telling the truth.

Her friends on the other hand, particularly Christy, were crappy people. If I had to hear one more statement of victim blaming from Christy, I was going to put my damn hand through a wall.

“Did you see the skirt Stacey was wearing at the party? I have washcloths made of more fabric.”

At least Lindsey wasn’t such a terrible person.

“Just because she was wearing skimpy clothes means that she’s lying about forcing themselves on her?”

But Christy insisted on blaming Stacey, the goddamn victim, for what happened to her.

“If you don’t want to work a guy into a lather, keep your cooch covered up.”

Thus blaming Stacey for what happened to her and not holding the boys responsible at all. That’s disgusting, and it further proves some people’s point that boys cannot be held responsible for their actions and that girls need to cover up if they don’t want to be assaulted.

I’m speechless, and not in a good way.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Ben. I knew something was off about him early on, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I wasn’t sure if he had any part in what the basketball players did to Stacey or if he was even there. I definitely did not trust him, and I was definitely worried about Kate.

The amount of sway the boys’ families had over the investigation was staggering, although not totally unheard of in a small town such as this one.

“Dooney’s dad’ll make it go away.”

Just the fact that this was said at all, made me sick to my stomach. Allegations such as this shouldn’t be swept under the rug regardless of what’s at stake and the simple fact that Ben said this so matter-of-factly, made me furious. I’m no stranger to powerful people sweeping things under the rug unfortunately.

I think I hated the coach & the head honchos of the school the most. Their number one concern should have been getting to the bottom of what happened, and making sure Stacey was safe. But, instead, they continued to coddle the basketball players, ignore Stacey completely and insist that these allegations were baseless.

“I want to ask you all to send good thoughts to the players who aren’t with us this afternoon.”

Um, seriously? Where are those good thoughts for Stacey, you know the victim in this awful thing? Apparently she wasn’t worth good thoughts because she was the one potentially screwing up their lives.

If this book wasn’t raising my blood pressure enough, this conversation between Ben & Kate certainly did.

“Why would Deacon and Dooney rape anybody? They can both have any girl they want. You saw Stacey hanging all over them at the party.”

“That doesn’t mean she wanted them to fuck her.”

“We don’t know that. We weren’t there.”

“Exactly, for all we know it’s just as likely that Dooney and Deacon are the ones lying. Don’t we owe it to Stacey to believe she might be telling the truth?”

“I don’t owe her anything.”

From that moment on, I had a knot in my stomach that did not let up for the rest of the book. I was livid. How could Ben say that he didn’t owe her anything. What if it had been someone he loved, what if it had been Kate who was assaulted?

I was pretty ambivalent about Rachel the entire book. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t really like her either. My ambivalence went out the window at about three quarters of the way into the book.

“All I’m saying is that there are rules.  You don’t get wasted. You don’t take off your top. You don’t flirt with raging drunks. You don’t dress like a slut. You have to play by the rules, if you don’t, this is what happens.”

Well well, victim blaming again.

I have to give Mr. Johnston mad props here. Instead of sweeping this under the rug, he used class time to force the guys to come up with alternative options for rape. Of course there should have never have been a need for this, but I’m glad it was addressed, and by a male teacher nonetheless.

I also have to give serious props to Kate’s younger brother, Will. There was a video of that night and Kate forces him to view it. After seeing him idolize the guys responsible, Will realizes that some things are not okay.

“Not being able to say no isn’t the same as saying yes. She didn’t deserve this.”

“Nobody does. Nobody deserve this.”

Watching Will realize this was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. He idolized the boys that did this, and the boys that knew about it.

This book made me feel all the things. I think it needs to be in high schools and I will be purchasing this book for my own collection as well as for my brother. He doesn’t read at all, but he reminded me so much of Will, and I think it’s important that he read this book. I will be giving it 5 stars and I will be recommending it to everyone.

Blog Tour: Very In Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Very in Pieces
by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 29th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

 

Synopsis:

 Very Sales-Woodruff is done being a good girl. Done being the only responsible one in a family that’s unraveling. Done being the obliging girlfriend in a relationship that’s sinking. Done saying no to what she wants—like Dominic, her rebellious classmate.
With her mom’s drinking, her dad’s extended absences from home, and her younger sister, Ramona, running wild, the path Very has always seen for herself doesn’t seem to matter anymore. At the same time, Very’s grandmother, a poet known less for her work and more for her exploits with the likes of Andy Warhol and Arthur Miller, is slipping away.

If everything else can fall to pieces, why can’t she?

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Follow the Very In Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Megan Frazer Blakemore is an author for children and young adults. She lives with her husband and children in Maine. She has worked in both school and public libraries, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in library science at Simmons SLIS.

2 winners will receive a signed copy of Very In Pieces and a signed copy of Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer Blakemore (US Only)

1 winner will receive a signed copy of Very In Pieces and a signed copy of Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer Blakemore (INT)

Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley Doyle

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Book Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley Doyle
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. They know what they need to do—stock up on bandages and painkillers, cover sharp table edges with padding, banish knives to locked drawers, switch off electrical items. They buckle up, they batten down.

But this accident season—when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are seventeen—none of that will make a difference.

Because Cara is starting to ask questions. And the answers were never meant to be found.

A haunting, untethered, addictive read that perfectly captures that time in our lives when our hearts crack open and the raw secrets of our true selves burst forth—whether we are ready or not.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
What did I just read?

I’m not even kidding about this. I’m so utterly baffled with this book. I am feeling all sort of things about this book. Good things, definitely.

I know the back of this book said that it was for fans of We Were Liars, but I was not a fan of We Were Liars, so I was worried that this book wouldn’t work for me. Bu I was willing to give it a shot.

I gotta say that The Accident Season was very compelling, and there were characters in this book that were interesting, quirky and they were characters that I was excited to learn about. I wanted to know more about them and what makes them tick.

I got more and more invested in the book as I kept reading. I wanted to know what was really going on. I wanted to know about Alice, Cara, Sam & Elsie. I was curious to know if this was all in Cara’s head or if all of this was actually really happening.

As I kept reading this book, I thought it was similar to Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn. Both of those aforementioned books, we didn’t find out what was really going on until the very end. That was also true with The Accident Season.

I am going to give this book 4 stars because I really enjoyed the book overall. I didn’t know what to expect with it, but I am really glad I read it. I love books that keep me wanting more and that’s exactly what this book did for me.

Bisexual Awareness Week

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Happy Bisexual Awareness Week, guys!

When I was 17 years old, I was still in high school, a small, super religious high school. I’m sure I was not the only LGBT student there, but given how religious the school was, no one else was out of the closet. I didn’t know a lot about LGBT, but I did know that I was attracted to both men & women. I didn’t even know there was a name to it. I didn’t even know Bisexual was an actual word, let alone a label that I would later use for myself.

I stayed in the closet for about 5 years, until I was 22. I was trying to figure myself out and I really wanted to know who I was before I told anyone else. Not to mention, I knew I was going to be told I was going to hell by my super religious grandmother, and I wanted to wait to come out until I knew I could deal with that.

Taking a class on sexual orientation in college proved to be the best thing I could have done for myself. It helped me feel more confident, even though initially I was toying with telling people I was a lesbian instead of bisexual.

In the beginning, sometimes saying I was bisexual felt like I “couldn’t decide” or that “I wanted the best of both worlds” Both of those statements are often made by people who don’t understand bisexuality. I didn’t understand it in the beginning. It felt like I was undecided about my sexual orientation.

It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t undecided. That I was attracted to women and men and that there was nothing wrong with that.

The coming out process was incredibly hard. I had a childhood friend (who I no longer speak to for other reasons) basically tell me she always knew I wasn’t straight. Her parents were often like second parents to me, and they were totally accepting & they loved me no matter what. My family, on the other hand was divided, but thankfully my mom, who has been by my side through so much, supported & loved me even though she didn’t really understand bisexuality.

Just in time for this week, I got hit with another misconception. Two people I was interested in dating refused to date me because I am bisexual. They said that bisexuals are incapable of being faithful.

That was really hurtful, and I’m so grateful to the bloggers who stood up for me and reminded me that I deserve better and that it speaks to their ignorance.

I didn’t come out online for a very long time, and just this past June, I came out on Twitter to my fellow bloggers. I was met with overwhelming support and love that day and, again I am so grateful for that. Grateful that I’ve surrounded myself with good people.

To celebrate this week, Dahlia Adler wrote a post, recommending YA books celebrating bisexuality. There are several on this list that I didn’t even know about, so I know what I’ll be adding to my TBR. Here’s the post: YA Books Celebrating Bisexuality

Thank you for reading this post!

Review: The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Book Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Companion to My Life Next Door
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house.

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know how Fitzpatrick does it, but I love it.  I enjoyed My Life Next Door immensely when I first read it, and when I found out this book was going to be about Tim & Alice I was stoked. Tim had been an intriguing character in My Life Next Door and I was very excited to read his story.

I was not disappointed. At all.

Tim had been the screw-up of his family for a long time. He had been the one to be kicked out of school, become an alcoholic and has a very cavalier attitude about sex. Unlike Alice, his family is not close, they aren’t loving or welcoming.

I’m still crazy about Alice’s family. The Garretts are utterly awesome, and I adore them all. From Mr. & Mrs. Garrett to toddler Patty. The boys, particularly Harry & George are still some of my favorite characters in this book.

“What’s a virgin?”
“Something about a forest.”

When I read that exchange from Harry & George I laughed so hard Dr. Pepper came out of my nose.

There’s Andrea “Andy” who begins high school in this book and she’s got all sorts of questions about guys, but she also has some words of wisdom that she hands out to Alice.

“Alice, c’mon you can have a bad day. Without it being your period or you being a ballbuster-see I said it-or a wimp or calling yourself names.”

Alice was struggling, trying to keep up on everything. She felt like taking care of her siblings, paying the bills, doing her schoolwork and going up against Grace Reed, the ice queen who just happened to be the mother of her brother’s girlfriend, was all on her. Alice was trying desperately to keep things afloat for her family, even when it wasn’t her concern. She loved her family, that much was obvious, but it wasn’t until her dad finally said something that she stepped back and handed the reins back to her mom & dad.

I gotta say that I suspected what Tim’s consequence would be, actually I could have bet my money on it, and if I had, I’d have been rich. However, how things ended with that little consequence was something I didn’t expect.

Now, about Tim & Alice, goodness I loved them. It was very much a slow burn romance, for which I was grateful. So if you’re expecting them to get together right away, you’re going to be disappointed. I loved how it happened though. It seemed very realistic, especially from Alice who has her walls up and from Tim who is trying to mature.

Overall, I did absolutely love this book. I liked it even more than My Life Next Door. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because Alice reminded me a bit of myself, plus the fact that Tim had red hair and I’m always a sucker for guys & girls with red hair. I am giving this book 5 stars and I need to get a copy of this book for my personal library ASAP.

Waiting On Wednesday #25

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
UNDERWATER
Book Link: 
Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

My Thoughts
This book wasn’t even on my radar until recently. I happened to see it on someone else’s social media (Instagram, I think?) and I went to look it up. After reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. It looks right up my alley. It looks like a hard read, emotionally, but I love those kinds of books.

What book are you looking forward to the most?

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2015 TBR

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cd680-tttThis weekly feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.

So this week we were asked to list our top ten books in our fall TBR. I went over 10 books mostly because I realized that I have a lot of review books that I still need to read. I’m trying my best to catch up, but it may take awhile. I’m hoping to be all caught up by the beginning of 2016, but I don’t know if that’s possible.

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Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler
Somewhere There Is Still A Sun by Michael Gruenbaum & Todd Hasak-Lowy
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
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Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry
The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
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Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
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Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
Bounce (Boomerang #3) by Noelle August
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Play On (Lewis Creek #1) by Michelle Smith

If you did a TTT post this week, leave me the link to it in the comments. Also, let me know if we have any of the same books on our lists this week.

Stacking The Shelves #83

581bc-stsThis feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Well, this is what happens when I move this feature to once a month and in that month Harper does multiple e-galley drops onto Edelweiss.

I end up with just about 50 books.

Granted, not all of them were review books, but 27 of them were. 23 from Edelweiss, 4 from NetGalley, I got an e-galley of a book for a blog tour, I got an e-galley of a book for an upcoming Sunday Street Team event. 12 were library books. I bought 5 books. One was a trade & three were from my Secret Sister.

Bought
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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Received for Review
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Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray
Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Flamecaster (The Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C. J. Redwine
Harmony House by Nic Sheff
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr (No cover yet)
The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan
Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Consent by Nancy Ohlin
Shade Me (Nikki Kill #1) by Jennifer Brown
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang
Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore

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Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Menagerie (Menagerie #1) by Rachel Vincent
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Placebo Junkies by J. C. Carleson

Blog Tour
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The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

Sunday Street Team
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Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith


Library
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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
When We Wake (When We Wake #1) by Karen Healey
When We Run (When We Wake #2) by Karen Healey
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Joyride by Anna Banks
Return to the Dark House (Welcome to the Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea by Johnathan David Kranz
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Accident Season by Maria Fowley Doyle
Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1) by Shanna Swendson
Time After Time (Time Between Us #2) by Tamara Ireland Stone

Gifted
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Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols
Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey

Received via trade
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The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)

Thank you to everyone who helped make this haul so big. If you’ve read any of these books or if you plan to, please let me know.

Do ARCs Symbolize Blogger Status?

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Several weeks ago, I read Mishma’s post on ARCs and whether or not they are a symbol of blogger status. You can read her original post here. I wanted to write my own post about it because I thought it was a good discussion topic. So I asked her if she minded, and she gave me the go ahead.

So thank you again, Mishma!

So what do you think of when you think of ARCs?
I think of responsibility. ARCs are a lot of responsibility. When you are granted an ARC request, you are basically telling the publisher that you will read the book in a timely fashion and you will review it right around the publication date. Most of us bloggers have every intention of sticking to a schedule, but as our names and our blogs get out there more, we get bogged down and it takes everything we have to climb out of the hole we’ve dug.

Yet, we still want those ARCs. You know, the ARCs of those amazing titles that only a select few bloggers actuallly get access to? Logically we know that publishers cannot give them to every single blogger that wants them, but we want to be considered worthy.

In many people’s minds, even if they don’t like admitting it, getting ARCs (especially ARCs for those major titles) is a status thing. I mean if someone gets a highly anticipated ARC, then everyone else sits up, takes notice and thinks that blogger just achieved “big blogger” status. In reality, that’s not always the case. There can be any number of reasons why this blogger or that blogger gets that coveted ARC.

But, I don’t think I’d consider ARCs a symbol of blogger status if people were not jealous, competitive and on occasion, angry that they didn’t receive a certain ARC that others did. I think it’s some people’s attitudes that make it seem like it’s a status symbol.

Now I’m not going to say that I never get jealous, because that would be a lie. I do get jealous still, but I manage to deal with it quietly and make sure I express how excited I am for the bloggers who DID get that super coveted ARC. I am doing a lot better with this than when I first started blogging back in 2013. I am also very competitive, but I’ve learned to tone that down in the book blogging world.

So what are your thoughts about ARCs? Do you think they symbolize a blogger’s status?