Do ARCs Symbolize Blogger Status?

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?

Friendships In Your 20’s

Making friends in adulthood is so much harder than I ever expected it to be. I didn’t expect to suddenly lose friends the minute we were all legal. I was under the impression that our friendships were stronger than that. I was under the impression that friendships could withstand new relationships, engagements, marriages and even babies.

Apparently I was wrong. Apparently friendships are always changing, and changing significantly when people begin a new stage of life. I’ve struggled to maintain friendships as the years have gone past. I’ve tried and tried to hang on to a friendship, only to realize that it’s just not working for various reasons. Maybe we’ve outgrown each other, maybe we are too different, or maybe, we were never really friends at all.

I was also under the impression that if someone means something to you, you will take the time to check in on them. Especially if you know things aren’t good at home. I’ve always tried to stay connected and check in on people. Particularly if I haven’t heard anything for awhile. That leads me to a different point, I don’t buy this “Sorry I’m too busy” bullshit If someone is important to you, you’ll make the time to talk to them, see them, let them know that you are thinking of them. Even a quick text would be okay.

Saying goodbye to friendships is sometimes incredibly hard or, if you know it’s a toxic friendship, it can be incredibly easy. I’ve been in both of those situations. In one situation, it lead to me blowing up at my friend in a public place (I’m not proud of it) It was all about how her new (and first) romantic relationship seemed to be more important than our 15 year friendship.

That happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves. When a relationship becomes number 1 in your life and you no longer have time/want to see your friends who were there before the significant other. I think it’s incredibly important to balance your friendships along with your romantic relationships. Friends are so, SO important and I think everyone needs to remember that.

Another couple times it was hard because I didn’t know what had happened. We just stopped talking and every time I’d try to reach out I’d either get an “I’m busy.” or “can’t talk right now” or even worse, no response at all. It was awful and it caused my self esteem to take a major hit. It made me wonder “What happened?” “Why am I not good enough” or other negative thoughts.

People think that self esteem can only take a major hit when you’re in high school, but that’s wrong. Your self esteem can take a hit whenever it wants to. Mine has taken many hits in my 20’s, and while it has not been fun, it’s left me with a better understanding of myself. I’m more confident in what I can and will put up with in regards to friendships. It’s helped me realize who is worth my time and who isn’t.

I’m a major control freak so the fact that I cannot control how others think of me or treat me, is hard. However, I can make it known that I am a person, worthy of respect, honesty and kindness. I can make it known that I will not allow myself to be treated badly. I will not try to force a reconciliation with someone I no longer care for. I will not spend time with anyone who doesn’t appreciate me and what I bring to the table.

Currently, my two closest friends are my boyfriend (who I’ve known since we were kids) and my friend who lives in Puerto Rico and has been a wonderful friend to me despite the distance. Would I like to have more friends? Of course I would, but I’m not gonna force it. Society says that if a woman doesn’t have several close friends, there’s a problem and it’s a red flag for anyone wanting to date her. Well I call bullshit on that.

Friendships are important. Friendships are sacred and friendships can bring more ups and downs than an amusement park roller coaster.

So, do you find it easy or hard to make friends?

Mood Reading

This post was inspired by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. She recently wrote a post on mood reading. This got me thinking as I am also a mood reader. I am also big on schedules so it’s difficult to figure out which one will win out and it’s always a different mindset that wins out every week. I love schedules and when it comes to book reviews I try to follow them but I refuse to force myself to read a book that I am not in the mood for.

I recently finished Dear Killer which is a YA Mystery and while I did enjoy it, I had to be in the right mood for it. If I had read it a month ago, it wouldn’t have worked because I was in a YA Contemporary phase and reading Dear Killer at that time would have ruined the book for me because I was not in the mood for a YA Mystery.

The idea of throwing out my color-coded review schedule makes me super panicky and scares the crap outta me. I thrive on schedules and if I were to just throw out the schedules and just listen to my mood completely, I think my compulsive need to meet deadlines would screw with my head completely and possibly ruin my love for reading at least temporarily. However, I know myself well enough to know that if I read a book that I am just not in the mood for, my review & the attached rating will suffer.

So I am just going to embrace my mood reading and be okay with the idea that I might not meet every single deadline that publishers want me to make and that’s okay. I would rather write a fair review and rate it correctly and have the review come in a little after the release date than write an unfair review with an incorrect rating and have it posted prior to the release date.

So are you a mood reader or are you more of a schedule reader?

Did Not Finish (DNF)

I really do not like not finishing a book. It makes me feel like crap despite knowing that I don’t want to waste my time on a bad book. I question myself about why I didn’t finish the book. I wonder if I just didn’t understand the book. It gets even worse when I appear to be the only one in the blogosphere that didn’t enjoy a book. It feels like “Okay, what am I missing?” “What’s wrong with me?” but in actuality, it’s okay to not like a book. Not everyone is going to absolutely adore every single book.

There are many reasons that I choose to DNF a book but they basically come down to character development (no I don’t have to love the character but I have to see some sort of effort in developing them) and writing style. There have been several books in which I hated the writing style but the characters were intriguing enough for me to keep going. There have been other books were the writing was beautiful and despite having flat characters, I finished the book.

Pacing is another big one. It’s not a huge deal for me, but it’s definitely a factor and if I am having a hard time trying to decide if I want to finish the book, pacing will come into play. Is it fast paced and trying to lure me in or is it slow paced and not really caring if I get drawn in?

Recently, I’ve DNF’ed 2 books. Both hyped (possibly overhyped) and at least one of them, I was the true black sheep for. It’s disappointing but I definitely don’t want to waste my time reading books that are just not working for me for whatever reason. I’d rather focus on books that I loved. I find that it is a much better use of my time.

So have you DNF’ed a book yet in 2014?

My Music

So I struggled with a topic for this week just like I always seem to do, but then I realized that I had never talked about my other love (outside of reading & outside of my cats) and that is music. I have a very eclectic taste just like I do with my books and what I like to read. I like rock, I like some pop and I looooove country. Like borderline obsessed with it. I’ll do some alternative and I do love me the soundtracks. Especially for movies that I have loved. I absolutely gotta have the soundtrack.

There are some types of music that I cannot stand. Rap is my number on cannot stand music. It’s not even really music to me and most of it is so offensive to women that I can’t even handle it. Of course that happens to be my 13 year old brother’s favorite genre of music and he is allowed to listen to the more offensive stuff at his dad’s which really upsets my mom. Classical makes me think of either elevator music or the music they play when you are on hold on the phone. Jazz, icky, ick. So not my thing. Actually makes me consider sleeping whenever I hear it.

I thought about putting some video clips of my favorite songs in this post, but I didn’t want to slow down the blog for anyone. That’s a pet peeve of mine so why would I do that to someone else?

I’m really on a country kick right now, even more than usual. My top country artists include Reba McEntire (she’s my all time favorite) Taylor Swift (yes I know she’s kinda Country/Pop but I love her) and Carrie Underwood, oh and Lady Antebellum, love them. Of course I cannot forget the men Garth Brooks, Lonestar, Brooks & Dunn & Vince Gill.Blake Shelton is okayish. Luke Bryan is fun & attractive to look at, but I’m not sold on his music.

So what are your favorite types of music and who are your favorite music artists?

If We Were Having Coffee #1

So I got this idea from Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner who got it from a blogger/life coach named Ashley.Sometimes we forget that there is a whole other side to book bloggers. A side that does not obsess about books and talk about them incessantly. So grab a cup of coffee (generally my coffee of choice is a Venti Mocha at Starbucks) and let’s chat.

If we were having coffe, I’d talk about how much I have hated 2014 so far. It definitely has not been kind to my family.My mom got fired from work in the beginning of January. Totally unjustified because she has been off work on Workman’s Comp since September of 2013. Thank goodness we have a lawyer who will not let this go. Workman’s Comp has been a nightmare to deal with and she’s frustrated and sometimes wondering how the bills are going to be paid. I give her money (we are literally best friends) but I practically have to force it into her hand.
At the end of January my 13 year old brother got a concussion.It was considered minor but the temporary mood changes were exasperating. Plus he dealt with headaches all the time. Then, this past weekend he was at his dad’s house and somehow managed to break 2 fingers in his right hand. What hand does he use to write, you ask? Of course his right hand.
My grandmother, who is normally extremely healthy, is now having some health issues. Scary for us because she is normally the healthiest one in our family. I would ask you to please keep her and the rest of my family in your thoughts & prayers.
If we were having coffee, I’d admit to feeling down lately. Not depressed, but just bummed about where I am in life. Ten years ago I had all of these plans and none of them have gone the way I wanted them to. I would admit to feeling like a loser because math is an exceptionally difficult subject for me. All of my other classes, I do very well even excellent. But not math. Math is just not my forte. I’d ask you what your best subjects in school is/was.I’d also admit to being a loser because I just cannot make a relationship work. I desperately want to, but I lack the skills and the inspiration to do so.
No one in my family has really shown me what it’s like to be happily married and committed for life. Mom has been married & divorced twice. Both of them assholes. Both of them verbally & emotionally abusive. My grandmother is on her 3rd marriage. First husband was abusive.Second husband died.And now she is on her third husband. My mom’s brother has never been married.Ideally marriage is supposed to be forever, but the 49-50% divorce rate would show me that marriages fail.Since I am a child (and adult) of divorce I am essentially screwed. Logically, I know that I am not my family and that I can take the steps necessary to put everything I have into a marriage.
I’d tell you that friendships are changing and I am realizing more and more who to trust. Who is going to be there for me when I need them to be and who only comes around when they need something.It hurts, thinking someone was a close friend, basically a best friend but we have drifted apart a lot in the past couple of years.
I’d tell you how much I panicked when I got a Facebook friend request from one of the boys who bullied me in high school. I mean, there were 4 sometimes 5 of them that made my Sophomore & Junior years absolute hell. Nothing was really done about them for awhile as it was a small private school and the parents of these boys had buckets of money. I have blocked out most of what they did to me in high school but some memories will always remain. 
I’d tell you that this felt really good and that we should keep doing it. At least once a month.
So what did you guys think? Comment below and say what you’d say to me if we were having coffee. If you want to keep it anonymous, you are welcome to do that as well.

YA books Made Into Movies

So I came up with this discussion idea after the ladies of Epic Reads discussed it on their weekly show called Tea Time this past Wednesday. I love, LOVE books as evidenced by me having a book blog and talking incessantly about books. I am also a major movie buff. There has been an influx of YA books being turned into movies over the past 5-10 years. Some of them have been amazing and some of them have sucked the big one.

I cannot mention YA books & movies without mentioning the 8 Harry Potter movies. Some of them were better than others and one of them I actually enjoyed more than the book (No I didn’t love all seven books the same)  There was another one where I adored the book but the movie adaptation of it was terrible. Which depressed the crap outta me.

Twilight, now I read the books once and now looking back, I am embarrassed that I read them. Totally cannot believe that I enjoyed them. However I went to go see Twilight when it came out in theaters and basically hated it. Kristen Stewart just cannot act to save her life. So I got New Moon on Netflix later on and could only make it through about 45 minutes before I had to turn it off. I have yet to see Eclipse or Part 1 & 2 of Breaking Dawn. The idea of a werewolf imprinting on a baby just… BARF!

Now The Hunger Games was a pretty decent movie adaptation. Yes there were changes that people had to accept. However it’s successor Catching Fire basically knocked it out of the park in terms of adapting the book to the movie. They had kept so many of the lines from the book and that thrilled me. The casting for Catching Fire was fantastic (RIP PSH) I even ended up loving Sam Claflin as Finnick though I was initially nervous about as he was my favorite male character in Catching Fire. Jena Malone was PERFECTION as Johanna Mason. They could not have cast that one better.

I have not read Vampire Academy but I saw the premiere for the film and I could not understand the hype. If the books are anything like the previews for the movie, I think I’ll pass. Yikes. It just looks totally cringe-worthy.

Now I am excited about Divergent even though I am still not 100% sold on Theo James as Four (Yes I know I’m crazy) I love that they were able to get some big names into the film (Kate Winslet & Ashley Judd) I really hope that the movie is as good as the previews made it look. I think I’ll be really upset if it ends up not being good.

Now onto the books that I would hate to see made into a movie. The Splintered series by A.G.Howard. I have absolutely adored the first two books but I would be terrified that the movies would be trash. They would have to get just the right director to do it (I would say Tim Burton but he’s already directed Alice in Wonderland and I don’t think he’d do this one.) The special effects would be dynamite, that much I am sure of. So movie people, if you are, by some miracle, reading this, please don’t make Splintered & Unhinged & Ensnared into movies.

My other YA movie don’t is The Program & The Treatment by Suzanne Young. Again, I absolutely LOVED this duology  but please movie people bypass this duology. I am absolutely terrified to think what would happen to this series if a director got their hands on it. First off, the books are long so lots would be cut which I would not be happy about. Secondly, I’d be worried about the casting of the key players (James, Sloane & Realm) among others. Amazing books that need to just stay books.

So what books would you hate to see be turned into movies?

Life Of A Blogger: Plans For The Future

Life Of A Blogger is hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. It is a way that we can let our readers know a little more about us outside of our blogs.

So I’m currently staring at the topic for today and I was hoping that the answer would just pop magically into my head. But no it hasn’t.

Ten years ago I had plans, I was happy and in love and ready to start college and eventually make my way to law school and eventually marry my high school sweetheart. Well that didn’t happen. Ever since then, I’ve had problems committing to a career, going as far as changing my major more times than I care to admit. Ideally I’d love to be a writer & also open a cat sanctuary for abandoned & abused cats. Realistically, my plans are to move out of my mom’s house and into my own house.

But to even do that, I have to get a job. It’s hard to break into the workforce after a long time of attending school & not working. I have been turned down for 3 jobs since I started looking. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking and it makes me feel crappy about myself. I know that it shouldn’t, but it does. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough. I’ve had that feeling often enough in my personal life that I don’t ever want to feel that way again.

Of course, given that today is Valentine’s Day, I want to make more room in my heart for love.I have a very frustrating habit of self-destructing in relationships and running away so fast that it would make your head spin. My plan was always to be married by age 30. As it stands right now, someone would literally have to fall in my lap right now for that to happen.

Last year at this time, I had reconnected romantically with my high school sweetheart (we had remained friends for the last 10 years) I was happy and hopeful for our future together, but of course I panicked and left the relationship. There was nothing about him I didn’t like. He was perfect on paper, but I was terrified to screw up again.

So I guess you could say that my plans for now are to get a job, stop running away from love and move out of my mom’s house. Decent goals & plans but ones that I had hoped I would have managed years ago. But I guess, now is better than never right?

So what are your plans for the future?

ARC Envy

As a semi new book blogger, I have dealt with this frequently, although it’s not as bad as it was in the beginning. ARC envy can be awful and it can cause a blogger to feel like crap, to feel like they aren’t good enough or to even feel like they aren’t ever going to get where they want to be. I have yet to meet a single book blogger who hasn’t dealt with the green eyed monster.

Getting ARC’s/e-ARC’s are a huge boost for any blogger because it means that the publishers want you to read and review the book. When those books start arriving in the mailbox or in the emails and those bloggers start posting about them on Twitter or their blogs, it’s hard for those of us who aren’t getting that super coveted ARC/e-ARC. I mean yes of course I am so happy for my blogger friends when they get those highly coveted books, but I won’t lie, a twinge of jealousy always appears for me.

Not feeling good enough has been something I have dealt with in my personal life as well as my blogging life. But I have to remember a few things. Not everyone can receive every ARC/e-ARC. Publishers go with the bloggers that they believe will read and review the book. It’s an extra bonus if the blogger and publisher already have a working relationship.

Just recently I was shot down for a title I had been dying for and while I did feel bummed, I also felt happy when several of my blogger friends received this very book.

It’s been a learning curve for me. To recognize that in the past 9 months I have come so far as a book blogger and that I can only go up from here. To know that I am good enough.I am a good person. Getting or not getting ARC’s/e-ARC’s do not define me.

Have you dealt with ARC envy?

Review Requests and How to Handle Them

This post was sort of inspired by my friend Ashley’s post here. Hers was strictly about turning down review requests, mine will be a little of that and a little of what happens when I do accept a review requests.

I recently had to adjust my policy so now my blog states that if I am not interested in your book, I will not respond to your request. This was probably rude as well as a bit too passive aggressive and I am not like that at all. However, I didn’t have much choice as I am getting requests daily that do not fit with the parameters of what I read.Honestly, if you cannot take five minutes to look over my review policy and what I do and do not like to read, then don’t bother emailing me.

It’s been awhile since I actually said yes to a review request and there are reasons for that. The last few times I have accepted a request, two of the books were DNF’s despite having really promising synopses and I accepted a third request and never received the book.It was a book I was looking forward to and the author had approached me about it. The final reason is because of my e-ARC’s. I talked about this last week and I still feel as though I am drowning in e-ARC’s. So I really want to catch up on those before I start accepting emailed requests. I mean if an author has a good pitch & the synopsis intrigued me I could probably make an exception, but it’s on a case-by-case basis.

And of course I want to be able to read my own books. Books that have nothing to do with blogging. Books that I received as gifts or books that I bought for myself. I started blogging for fun and I never want it to feel like a job that I hate.I am a bit afraid that it will so I am going to do everything possible to ensure that it doesn’t happen. Even taking a week off of reading review books to focus on my “me” books every once in awhile.

So how do you handle review requests?