Book review – Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Caidyn's review (1)

Love from A to Z


CW: Islamophobia, death of loved ones, grief and loss, chronic illness, and multiple sclerosis

By now, y’all know that I’m not a big YA contemporary fan. It’s usually not my genre because of the romance. And this book wasn’t one I expected to ever read, despite reading some glowing reviews of it. Yet, Melany and Amy decided to choose it for their book club. I decided that I’d try it out.

And, I loved it.

Now, the heart of the story is a romance. And, for the second time this month, I liked it!

Image result for gasp gif

I know, I know. Calm yourselves. I’m still me, but this is strange.

The story follows Adam and Zayneb, two Muslims who meet by chance. Zayneb is in Doha to visit her aunt after being suspended from school. Her teacher is Islamophobic and tries to show each class how awful Islam is. Adam, on the other hand, is a college student who has stopped going to classes. Both meet on a flight to Doha. As it turns out, they each know Zayneb’s aunt — she’s, obviously, Zayneb’s aunt and Adam’s mother was her best friend — so they get to know each other.

There’s so much I want to talk about in this book because there was so much going on. First, the Islamophobia. I’m from a very small town. Predominantly white, but we had black and Latinx students as well. That’s it. I don’t recall anyone being Muslim or, for that matter, anyone who was non-Christian. I have never seen Islamophobia in my life, but I’ve read about it. In college my minor was religious studies, so when Islam was the religion we were studying, we talked about it a lot. Did presentations and things like that. And, it’s horrifying. However, as a non-Muslim, I’m not qualified to talk about it. I highly suggest you check out Chaima’s ownvoices review if you want to more about it.

But, one thing that I can speak to is grief and loss. In my profession, which is social work, we deal with that a lot. Unresolved grief and loss have huge impacts on people. Loss can take many forms as well. And this book was crippling with it, so if you’ve had a recent loss (or not so recent), please take care of yourself when you read it. I’ve been open about it on the blog, but when this review posts, it will be a few days away from the three-month mark when my sister passed away from cancer. And this book was hard to read.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is Adam’s mother. She passed away when he was a kid from multiple sclerosis — MS — and Adam has it as well. It’s speeding up and now it’s obvious that he has it. Now, my first agency placement was in a hospice. I had a patient I saw with MS. I’d go over and hang out for a few hours with him, then talk and evaluate his wife when she got home, because he was non-verbal, couldn’t move, and was chronically ill from complications that come with end-stage MS. I know what it looks like and all the loss associated with it.

Adam is grieving the loss of his mother, grieving the fact that he has what killed her, grieving his losses — loss of independence, loss of life span, loss of ability to function, loss of his future, etc. — and has to find a way to tell his grieving family and friends. It was a lot to handle and, each time, I felt that pit in my stomach because I know what it feels like from seeing patients go through these losses, their family members, and in my own personal life.

It was written so, so well. Ali captured it beautifully with heartbreaking accuracy. I cannot stress that enough. Which is why I’m saying to take care of yourself. I wish that other reviews had highlighted just how central grief and loss is to the story. For me, it overtook the romance completely.

One thing that also elevated this book for me was the support Adam and Zayneb both had. They had friends who were there for them and helping them. They had strangers who were there for them. They had family who was, for once, present in their lives as a support system. (Not often a theme in YA.) It was beautiful to read all the support they had, including each other.

So, I gotta say, this book was beautiful. It was very, very hard to read at times, but it was beautiful. I’m so glad that I went out on a limb and gave this a try.

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Book review – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Caidyn's review (1)



CW: anxiety, grief, loss of a loved one, violence, and forced institutionalization

Goodreads was being a butt with the picture for the Owlcrate edition, so I had to use my picture from Instagram. Oh well! I think it looks prettier like this.

In other news, I liked this a lot! I don’t know how much I have to say about it, but I did really enjoy it.

The story focuses around a world where books aren’t always what they seem. Some have the souls of humans in them and can transform into deadly creatures that kill people. And Elisabeth is an apprentice, training to become one of the people who protects those books. Except one night she finds that one of the books has transformed and killed the Director. She defeats the book only to find herself being punished.

Enter her adventure.

Elisabeth was such a dynamic character! I really enjoyed reading her transformation and all of that. She was badass and likable and nice and just great. She was really enjoyable.

Along the way she meets Nathanial Thorn, a sorcerer — and librarians hate sorcerers — who has a demon, Silas, tethered to him. When Nathanial dies, Silas will eat his soul and then go on to serve the next Thorn. If there is one, of course. She grudgingly likes them, then, of course, it becomes more. Nathanial is so much fun. I loved how cocky he was and that he was so open with his sexuality, honestly saying that he’s bisexual. Which was great.

The character that completely stole my heart, though, was Silas. He was just fun and I want more of the demon lore for this! He was endlessly fascinating, how human he was yet how other he was at the same time. I thought that Rogerson did a great job of balancing him as a character, making him likable and also terrifying when we were reminded as readers that he isn’t like us at all.

The world took a bit of time for me to sink into. I blame my mood when I was reading it. I was very distracted and just needed to read, even if I wasn’t completely paying attention to it. (Sorry, book. I do that because it’s my self-care.) I was still catching up and gathering everything towards the end because of that. My fault, I know, but I should have picked a different book to read like that.

I have a feeling that I’ll bump this one up to 4.5 or 5 stars when I eventually reread it. The story just took my breath away and I ended up loving all the characters. It took me a while to really like Elisabeth and Nathanial. As I said, I liked them but I needed to get to know them more. Luckily for me, the book is pretty long and I definitely had enough time to get to know them! They were wonderful and I know that the plot was fantastic.

Do yourself a favor and check this out! I already know I’ll be trying Rogerson’s debut novel because she’s an author I’ll be paying attention to more.

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First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

The gravedigger’s children were troublemakers.

Maybe not the most entrancing first line, but it totally drew me into it. I would have included more to it, but it went into great detail and I didn’t feel like typing it up.

But, I’ve read beyond the opening page. And damn this book is fantastic!

It’s YA, blending horror, historical fiction (to me), and fantasy together in an amazing way. It’s being published in September. I’ve had my eye on it.

It is…



The Bone Houses

As I said, this is fantastic! I’m being serious, y’all. It’s seriously amazing and I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be devouring this whole book.

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Book review – I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Caidyn's review (1)

I Wish You All the Best


CW: transphobia, being kicked out, parental abuse, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and isolation

This is one of those books that I had seen around, but wasn’t sure about. As y’all likely know by now, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary YA. It’s not a genre that I like very much because it’s usually romance and angst and, well, it annoys the hell out of me.

But, I loved this book.

Ben is nonbinary and they come out to their parents only for them to kick them out. They decide to go live with their sister, Hannah, who was also kicked out by their parents. She’s married to Thomas, a school teacher at a high school that Ben starts going to. There, Ben meets Nathan, a queer POC guy.

There were three main things in this book that blew me away. First, the wonderful diversity. There are two nonbinary characters, Ben and Mariam. Mariam is nonbinary and Muslim, wearing a hijab as a show of their faith. Then there’s Nathan. Nathan has friends that he introduces Ben to, who are also POC characters. I mean, I loved that this book took place in the south and that it showed so much diversity in it. That really caught me by surprise and I loved it.

Second, despite the subject matter, it wasn’t depressing. There were sad moments, of course, but it never was too much. It felt so accurate, likely because Deaver is nonbinary as well. For me, I kept relating it back to when I was a baby transman in high school. I could relate deeply with Ben and their choice not to come out to everyone. I was deeply in the closet and never came out to my high school as a whole because I didn’t want to be bullied or put myself at risk of harm since I live in a conservative area as well.

To go with the subject matter, I loved the therapy rep! It was just amazing because it highlighted how much therapy is important. My parents and I went to therapy a few times to make sure that everything was okay when we were going through this huge transition. I know it helped my parents more than me, but if the situation had been different I know it would have helped me as well.

Third, the relationship didn’t kill me!! Romance isn’t my thing in general, but the romance in this was amazing. It was so sweet and I loved how most of it was fostering a friendship. When most YA books have tons of instalove, it was so refreshing to see a realistic relationship develop and grow. It was just great and so refreshing for me as a reader. I always have a hard time getting behind relationships in books because, most of the time, they’re not fleshed out. This was perfectly fleshed out for little ole me.

Basically, if you want a terrific debut about nonbinary and other diverse characters, I highly recommend this book. I’m definitely going to have to get it for my shelf because I’m sure I’ll want to reread it.

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Book review – The Madness Blooms by Mackenzi Lee

Caidyn's review (1)

The Madness Blooms

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!


CW: homophobia, transphobia, outing, deadnaming, gender dysphoria, unsupportive family, graphic sex scene, and possible alcohol abuse


First and foremost, I want to make some statements about this review upfront. A lot of you know me, but this review will be posted on Goodreads and Twitter and, obviously, this blog. I’m also going to bump it up in my story on Instagram.

I don’t know where it’s going to go and who will see it. So, I want to put right up front a few things about me and this review.

  1. This is my opinion alone from an ownvoices standpoint, informed by my own experiences. I do not have any interest in speaking for the whole trans community and I will not be. I can only speak of my experience and thoughts around this book. Life would be boring if all transpeople thought the same and this is one opinion of a highly nuanced situation.
  2. If you were offended/found this book problematic, I’m not trying to diminish your personal experience, just talk about my own.
  3. I also have an issue with the marketing done around this book. I don’t like that it was marketed as F/F then, surprise!, the MC’s trans. It’s horribly problematic and needs to be fixed more. I’m glad that Mackenzi has been working on changing that.
  4. This review is about the content of the book. I want to talk about the actual content and my perception of it.
  5. I love Mackenzi Lee’s past work. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is the book that helped me realize I’m aroace.
  6. I welcome comments and ideas that differ from my own! However, I will not allow for cruelty. If anyone starts being rude, I’ll delete your comments. I don’t want to have to monitor that, but I will if I have to.

I’m not on Twitter. We might have a shared Twitter, but Chantel is the one who runs it. I rarely pop on over there. So, when the drama came around about this book, I had already requested this, super excited for Mackenzi’s new F/F book set in Holland which I’ll be shortening to TMB so I don’t have to type the title over and over again. Then, I started seeing Mackenzi on Instagram correcting the marketing and Chantel began filling me in about the stuff on Twitter.

I wasn’t going to read this book until December or January. I like reading my ARCs about a month before they come out because then it’s fresh in my mind. But with this? I felt like it was something I needed to read right away because I didn’t think that Mackenzi Lee meant any harm.

Thanks to her stories (and other authors, such as Adrienne Young) on Instagram that authors rarely, if ever, have control over their marketing and cover designs and descriptions. And, I also know that Mackenzi is a huge supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community and has captured our historical experiences in her past books.

Mackenzi also used trans sensitivity readers. Including Meredith Russo. And, personally, I’m with Meredith Russo. So, spoiler for my own views. As a transman, I didn’t find this triggering or problematic. I felt like it captured the historical reality of being trans in the 17th century. And it was wonderful.

meredith russo tmb
Screenshot taken from Twitter and her Twitter thread.

I’m a huge history nerd, I always take historical fiction with the historical context. Such as, there were certain historical realities and laws that criminalized sexuality and gender expression. Those were present in this book and I appreciated her capturing that honest reality. Also, queer characters didn’t have the language that we have today to explain their gender and sexuality. And I loved that, again, in this book Mackenzi honored that and wasn’t anachronistic.

The book was unapologetically trans without ever using that word.

Now, I’ll get more to that in a second because I did see someone’s comment on Goodreads — if you see this review and it was you, please tell me and I will link people there! — that said this book is more adult than YA with the current content. And, I agree there. It’s definitely more adult than YA. It reminded me of Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg (ownvoices historical transman book). TMB has very adult themes to it, even though the characters were teens.

A little bit more about using the word trans in this book. Transsexual was a word that was first used in the 1920s and transgender was first created in the 1960s. Definitely not a 17th-century word. And this book is about discovery. It’s about our transman MC discovering who he is and coming into that identity.

When I was reading it, I was struck by how represented, how seen I was, by this book. It’s so hard to find book about transmen that accurately captures what it feels like to discover your identity. There was one quote that stood out to me. Remember, ARC quotes are liable to change, especially since this book has been pulled from being published for the near future.

 A manacle I had not known was around my neck until it was removed, and suddenly, I could breathe, I could breathe, I could breathe at last.

That’s a quote from the MC after he got his hair cut off. I distinctly remember the day that I cut my hair from being super long to very short. And that captures how I felt when I did it and looked in the mirror, seeing a bit more of myself each day.

Then, there was the description of gender dysphoria that made me stop because it so captured the feeling. One second, so, so masculine and knowing that you’re a man and fully inhabiting that role, only to then be slammed back into the depressive and anxiety-ridden reality of your body not matching how you pictured it in your mind. It cut me right to my heart because, God, Mackenzi got it 100% right.

There are a few main characters in this. The MC, who I am going to refer to as Pim in here. Pim’s birth name, and what he’s referred to for a good portion of the book, is Lena. I know there’s a huge discussion of deadnaming around this book, but he doesn’t choose Pim as his name (while pretending to be a man whose name is Pim) until 41% and it isn’t until the second to last chapter that he really chooses it as his own. It reminds me of George by Alex Gino. She chooses the name Melissa but is called George throughout the book and most reviews call her George as well.

I’ve already mentioned that I loved Pim. I loved his journey to self-discovery. I loved how accurate he felt. I just loved it. As I said, it’s so hard to find a story where a transman is the main focus. And it was so refreshing to read something that made me feel represented.

Then, there’s Elsje, Pim’s love interest. I did like her. She was fun and quirky and so queer. However, I felt like she could have been fleshed out a bit more as a side character. There was not much more to her besides how she loves tulips and is totally interested in Pim and helps affirm his gender.

Bas is Pim’s older brother. I… I didn’t like him. He’s drunk most of the time and is very unaccepting of Pim’s identity. I’m very tired of the trope of an unaccepting sibling. I want more accepting sibling rep. I’m going to come back to this a little later.

Then, there’s Jan. Jan has a very minor role for most of the book. I think that’s a damn shame. He’s very accepting of Pim and Pim’s gender. He encourages him to live as a man. I wanted more of him. Bas was very unaccepting, Elsje middling with acceptance, and Jan was super supportive. I liked that there was a spectrum of support, but there needed to be more of Jan.

The plot itself is pretty straightforward. Pim and Bas are orphans, taken in by a tulip seller who suddenly dies and leaves them with a lot of debt. They find out that he might have had a Semper Augustus (a very expensive and rare tulip) and go to claim it. However, the man who had it is in jail away from Holland. Pim decides to take on his identity and sell it, then they get out of there.

The first 60% of the book was very positive and moved at a good clip. It was a fast-paced fun ride. Around 66% — I identified it in my status updates — the tone changed and it became bleak. Throughout the book, it was mentioned that people could get hung for being gay. But, around 66% there’s a graphic hanging. Then there’s Pim being outed later, around 80%. There’s also been some discussion about the ending and how unhappy it is. Tbh, I found it pretty happy? Pim didn’t get the girl, but, he was living his authentic life so how is that unhappy?

Now, I mentioned I love historical accuracy. I hate books that feel anachronistic. However, in this case, I think things could be edited out. I do not think that there needed to be a graphic hanging. That could be removed completely from the story without impacting things. It’s a scene that pushes the story from YA to adult for me. I wished that it hadn’t included that. Sure, it’s historically accurate, but it doesn’t add to the story.

I also mentioned that I wish Bas would be changed. Either made more supportive, given a smaller role, or bring more of Jan into the story to further offset Bas’s lack of support. That’s one thing that I wanted to be changed desperately when I was reading it. Because each time Bas came in, I knew that he’d be saying something that was rude and/or triggering. It didn’t add to the story and it felt gratuitous.

So, what are my overall thoughts on the book?

  • I felt myself represented from when I was a teen trying to figure out who I was and figuring out slowly.
  • There are definitely things that could be changed and removed, but it was so good.
  • I would 100% recommend this to people as an authentic trans read.

Whenever Mackenzi is ready to put it out for publication, I’ll be preordering it so I can have it on my shelves right next to the Montague Siblings.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Mark  Lawrence

  • Mark Lawrence

So far, I’ve read two of his series (The Broken Empire and Red Queen’s War) and I’m in the middle of reading — although it’s on pause because I need to read it all in one go — his Book of the Ancestor series. Either way, he blows me away with his characters and worlds. Always an auto-buy author.

Mackenzi Lee

  • Mackenzi Lee

I know that Mackenzi is getting a lot of heat right now. You’ll actually be able to read my take on her latest book, The Madness Blooms, tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed her books and she’s definitely an author I’ll keep buying.

Seanan McGuire

  • Seanan McGuire

I’ve only read her Wayward Children series and Middlegame, but I will 10000% keep reading her books! They’re fantastic and always so imaginative. I just have a lot of catching up to do.

Stephen King

  • Stephen King

King is really hit or miss with me, but, more often than not, I like him. I can only think of a couple of books I didn’t like and I just have learned to avoid his short story collections. Still an author I’ll be reading and buying until the end.

Sarah Henning

  • Sarah Henning

She’s a fantastic local author for me! I loved her debut, Sea Witch, and I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel and, basically, everything else she’s coming out with in the near future.

Erin A. Craig

  • Erin A. Craig

Her first book isn’t even published yet, although I had a chance to read the ARC, and I can tell that Erin Craig is going to be a new favorite author. I’m definitely going to add her to my auto-buy list.

R.F. Kuang

  • R.F. Kuang

Yep. I’ll read anything she writes. I love her to pieces because both of her books have emotionally destroyed me. Never fails to impress me.

Caitlin Starling

  • Caitlin Starling

Earlier this year, I read and loved The Luminous Dead which was her debut. So. Damn. Good. I’ll be reading more of her in the future!

Becky Chambers

  • Becky Chambers

I decided to delve into her Wayfarer’s series and I loved it. Totally will be reading more of her stuff when she publishes more. It impressed me and showed me how great sci-fi can be.

Emily X.R. Pan

  • Emily X.R. Pan

Last, but not least, is this author. She’s fantastic. I absolutely adored reading The Astonishing Color of After. It broke me and it built me back up. I’ll be reading whatever else she publishes. You can count on that.

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Book review – The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson

Caidyn's review (1)

The Art of Breaking Things

I received a finished copy from Viking Books in exchange for an honest review!


CW: child sexual abuse, grooming, drug misuse, sexual assault, and PTSD

When I got home from Portland, this was a surprise for me! It’s not usually a genre I reach for, nor is it a topic that I like reading about. Sexual assault is content that I don’t read because it bothers me. As it should, of course, but it just is one of those things that bothers me.

Skye is an art student in high school, going out for a competitive scholarship at an art school. All she has is her mom and her younger sister, Emma. There are some friends as well — Luisa and Ben. And, she harbors a secret. She uses drugs and alcohol to mask that pain and to bury it down so no one knows.

And then her mother starts dating the man who assaulted her.

Her younger sister is her age when it happened and, as it does, it all comes bubbling back up.

The story is largely told in the present, but there are flashbacks to Dan (the abuser) before the assault, when it happened (which is told in graphic detail, so take care with that), and after when she starts using drugs, alcohol, and sex to cope. For me, this was so well written. It really felt like an accurate description of grooming and the coping of what comes after.

I just loved how this was a story of discovery and realization that these are unsafe coping skills, along with finally realizing that someone has to say something to get it to stop. Otherwise, Emma would have been next no matter how hard Skye had tried to protect her over the years and especially once Dan comes back.

As I said, this was just a glorious book. I’m so glad that I had the chance to read it. It wasn’t perfect but it was just fantastic. I love that these books exist for people who need it, that they can find themselves in fiction and go with the character to discover that they do the same thing.

This was a very impressive debut and I know I’ll be reading whatever Sibson publishes next!

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Book review – The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

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The Arrangement

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!


CW: sex work, stalking, self-harm, alcohol abuse, and cheating

Ever since I read Her Pretty Face last year, I knew that this was an author to look out for. She completely captivated me with her story. And, honestly, this one was no different!

Natalie, or Nat, is a young woman at a NYC art school. She waits tables and lives in a flat with two other people who don’t like her very much. Of course, she also once had a stalker who still worries her. She can barely afford her share of the rent. After meeting a fellow student who, somehow, has money, she learns about being a sugar baby. Time in exchange for money. A lot of money, at that. And, Nat decides to dip into that sugar bowl.

Gabe is a high powered attorney. He’s (unhappily) married and has a kid he doesn’t understand. The marriage he’s in has turned into one of companionship, lacking the passion it once had. This isn’t his first time having a sugar baby. But, he chooses Natalie.

I know I’ve said it before on here, but I have a huge interest in sex work. Not like that. I mean, I find the work absolutely fascinating. What drives people to do it. The work behind the scenes. I’ve always found it absolutely fascinating. For a long time, I had a personal Twitter. I’ve deactivated it now, but I used to follow camgirls to see if I could catch that glimpse. I used to follow sex workers on Tumblr before the changes happened to the website to kind of keep up on what was going on.

And, I love that this book came from that place of interest. In her author’s note, she says that she was interested and actually talked to sugar babies to find out why they chose that profession. I love that! I love that she actually went into the community to research! I think, for me, that’s why it felt so realistic. The story showed the good and the bad. The nice holidays, the jewelry, the housing. And the creepy men who go there because they can scare and hurt a woman. I could go on my whole diatribe against the criminalization of sex work for people who genuinely want to work there, but I won’t get on that soapbox.

Still, I didn’t like some of the tropes presented in this.

Sex and sex work shaming did play a role in this. I know that it’s a huge reality for sex workers, but I would have liked to not see every single non-sex worker character shitting on Natalie for her financial choice.

It also goes with the whole unstable sex worker line. Natalie is very unstable, I won’t lie there. She goes into being a sugar baby (which is, in a way, sex work) not realizing and accepting that’s what it was. She doesn’t seem to understand that being a sugar baby isn’t like being a girlfriend. It’s a job, one you have to work at. It’s not real. It’s a fantasy. She also has PTSD from her stalker.

Still, I didn’t like that it showed bad endings for both of the sex worker characters in this. I feel like balancing it out with something more positive would have been better for me. But, that’s me.

I still loved this book. It was a page turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one that I’ll want to own once it’s out and I was thrilled by it! The book felt so authentic and I loved the twists and turns it took, along with the characters revealing themselves who they really were. I couldn’t believe the ending and it was just so good!

Another fantastic book from Harding!

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Please shame my ARC list

Related image

I have lots of shame, actually.

This includes my ARC list.

At the moment, I have 35 ARCs that still need to be read and reviewed. Technically 34 because I don’t have one yet, but I know it’s going to get to me.

Image result for wince gif

I know, Hermione, I know. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad and completely out of control. Right now, I have 8 I need to read before August, 11 for September, 8 for October, and then the rest are either December or 2020.

It’s not good, right? I have the privilege of getting ARCs and I definitely abuse use that power. It’s how I read books I’m interested in without having to buy them or use the library. And I know I’m going to see more that I want and go on a requesting spree as soon as I get that number down.

The deadly circle.

I do my best to keep it down by a few techniques.

1. I do reading sprints!

Reading sprints is this thing when you pick up about three books, set a timer for 20 minutes, and then read for those 20 minutes. If you don’t get into it, time to put the book aside and move on.

2. I liberally DNF them.

I know that there are people who don’t DNF ARCs. I get that. Giving them an honest review, to some people, means reading everything of it. For me, I give an honest review even if I don’t finish it because there was something that kept me from finishing it that needs to be addressed.

3. I read multiple at once.

Yeah, I tend to have a couple going at the same time. Maybe more if I have a physical one or two (usually they’re e-ARCs, though). I try to keep the genres apart so I don’t read multiple books in the same genre and get confused. But, I just read them.

4. Set a reading goal.

There’s a wonderful app I use called Reading Planner. I have an android so I don’t know if it’s available for iPhones. But, basically, you search for a book that you’re reading, add it to your list, update the pages if needed, and then you can set a goal for yourself. That can be pages per day or finish by a certain date. I usually use the latter! Then, it tells me how much to read each day to finish it by that specific date.

So, in a nutshell, I want you all to shame me for having that many ARCs and my tips on how to keep the list down. Even though I know I’ll go and request more as soon as I get it down to a more respectable number.

Talk to me!
Is your ARC list as out of control as mine?
What tips do you have to keep your list short?

Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!


  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Tommy's Tale

Doesn’t look like my thing anymore.

Verdict: GO!

Madame de Pompadour: A Life

I want to read another biography about Madame de Pompadour. The other one I read wasn’t what I wanted it to be and this one has a slightly better rating.

Verdict: Keep

Henry: Virtuous Prince

Believe it or not, I’ve never read a book by Starkey. I’m kinda hesitant because of his iffy reputation. Still, I’d like to give him a go.

Verdict: Keep

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

I have no idea why I added this book to my TBR.

Verdict: GO!


This looks okay. I read Obscura as an ARC (same author) and I enjoyed it. But I don’t feel a pull to read it.

Verdict: GO!

The Vines

Again, I don’t know why I added this. I’ve never really been interested in Christopher Rice as an author. His stuff doesn’t sound like my thing.

Verdict: GO!

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

I know that Hilary Mantel is a good author. But I just want her to get off her butt and finish the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, you know?

Verdict: GO!

Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control

I’ve burnt myself on poli-sci nonfiction. So, will I read this one day? Maybe. Right now? Nope. In the near future? Probably not.

Verdict: GO!

Look Behind You

Eh? Looks like I’d get annoyed by it within minutes.

Verdict: GO!

Henry VIII: Man and Monarch

This one sounds super interesting. I like the idea of different authors writing different pieces about Henry’s life.

Verdict: Keep

Last TBR: 1552

Books kept: 3

Books removed: 7

Current TBR: 1541

Image result for woo gif

Next couple of months, I’m going to get this thing down to 1499!

Talk to me!
Read any of these?
Should I have kept any that I purged?