Please shame my ARC list

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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.

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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?

I’m back from Portland!

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Look! We met!! (And, this is our new picture because, well, we just thought this was our best selfie.)

Now, you’re going to get a photo tour of our time together.


Thursday

I woke up at 3am my time (1am where Chantel is). I got on the plane around 6am. Landed 6:45 in Arizona, so it was 8:45 for me. Then, I had a hellacious 7 hour layover. I became one with the airport. I think I know it like the back of my hand now.

But, after those seven hours, I got on a plane!

And we took our first selfie!!

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Friday

We went to Powell’s!!!

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I got many books.

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See this stack? These are the books that I got at @powellsbooks! Obviously, I got quite a few. 🤣 In other news, I have no self control. Only one isn't pictured because I got it for my mom! 📚 I got a few books that I've already read, but most were ones that I haven't! My stacks of unread books have definitely grown. 📚 #bookpile #bookstack #reader #amreading #tbrpile #bookstagrammer #bookstagram 📚 [Image description: Stack of books that include The Shining by Stephen King, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, Solitaire by Alice Oseman, Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley, Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, Scythe by Neil Shusterman, and The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore.]

A post shared by Caidyn and Chantel (@bwreviewsblog) on

Yeah, I have no self control.

We also went to the downtown library because Chantel loves the building. I didn’t take any pictures, but it was gorgeous.

After that, we went and grabbed food at Mayas Taqueria that was omg amazing.


Saturday

First, we went to Saturday Market! I only took pictures of food I got there.

Then, we went to the Pride festival!

I literally took one picture there. Tons of stalls and I just was trying to absorb it. I don’t take many pictures on vacations since I like to experience it while I’m there rather than through a camera.

The only pictures I took were of Satanic Portland us living our best lives.

Before parting ways, we went to Chantel’s favorite cider place, Portland Cider Company. So delicious! I took pictures of my drinks, of course, but they look the exact same.

The first is of their seasonal passion fruit cider. Super tart, but I loved it. The second is of an apricot cider! Not as good, but I still liked it.


Sunday

We went to the parade! I took no pictures because I just was enjoying myself so much, but the selfie that’s our new picture is from us standing there for it!

We left halfway through because we had brunch reservations at Brix Tavern. Best fucking brunch of my damn life.

After this we went our separate ways because we were tired.

But, we did take super gay pics on the way to the restaurant.

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Monday

I took no pictures on Monday. It was our last day together (sad face) and we did more personal things together. I mean, I met her mom and we had an amazing lunch together. Then, I met one of her friends and had dinner with her.


It was such a great trip. We had an amazing time and I’m already planning when I’ll be going back. Seriously, just so much fun. It was a jam-packed long weekend but Chantel described it perfectly. “I’m tired, but I’m happy.”

Me, too.

I’m going out of town!

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This is an accurate depiction of my awkwardness.

As you can tell from the title, I’m going out of town this month. (Which I, for one, am super excited about because I desperately need a little bit of a break from life!)

But, even more exciting, is my destination.

I’ve been sitting on this for a long time. It’s a wonder I was able to not tell people where I’m going tbh since I can be bad at keeping secrets that aren’t life/death or anything else.

I’m going to… PORTLAND!!!!!

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Probably Chantel and I at some point.

Yes! I’ve had this trip scheduled since October. Chantel’s birthday was two days ago and I’m, basically, her present. Not like that.

When this posts, I’ll be in the midst of traveling up there! I’ll check in here a few times a day, but I’ll be offline for the most part until the 18th.

Want to see what we’re getting up to? You should go check out our Instagram! I’m planning on posting on our story since this weekend is Pride and my first time in Portland.

 

500 Follower Q&A!!

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As I said, I wanted to do a Q&A to celebrate reaching 500 followers!

Thank you all for asking your questions for us and for following us. We love all of you and, trust me, I’m so happy that we reached this milestone!

Let’s jump into the questions, though!


Seji @ the artisiangeek asked: What’s our profile picture?

Okay, our profile picture is an inside joke.

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I’m not allowed to talk about our name, but it has something to do with it. Either way, it’s buff bears dressed like Wonder Woman.


Virginia asked: How did Chantel and I meet?

Okay, so we met online. We used the same platform for online role-playing. Got randomly matched together and we decided to continue over email. Then, we just kinda started chatting about plot and characterization. Then we talked about ourselves. Then we just kind of went from there.

Either way, we’ve been friends for three years now! And, I know that we’re going to be friends for a lot longer!


Ally asked: Many questions!

  • If you could only name your cats/dogs/children/plants after book characters from one book series, which book series and which names would you choose?

Hm. I actually have plants that I’ve named after Harry Potter characters! So, Harry Potter is my series since there are so many names. I have a plant named Fred’n’George because it’s very colorful like them. Then I have a prickly succulent thing (I’m not good at plant names) that I named Rubeus because it’s got a prickly exterior but it’s pink.

  • Who was your favourite childhood author?

JKR was definitely my favorite. I also loved R.L. Stine because I just adore horror with all of my heart.

  • What spell from Harry Potter do you wish you could use?

Riddikulus! I’d love to be able to turn things that I’m afraid of into something silly.

  • What’s your favourite breakfast?

I don’t really eat breakfast?? If I cook something, it’s usually eggs. But I eat an apple at work every day for my breakfast.

  • Oh also what made you want to go into the field you work/study in? Is that what you always wanted to do? Do you enjoy it?

So, I’m studying social work right now at a master’s level. This time next year, I’ll have my MSW and (fingers crossed) be licensed as an LMSW. I really enjoy it and I’ve always wanted to go into a helping profession. For a bit I thought it would be as a psychologist, but social work is way more flexible and doesn’t take as long!


nsfordwriter asked: Fave things about blogging? What blog posts are you most proud of?

I think my favorite thing about blogging is interacting with you and seeing you all enjoy what I post. I really love that because, as you all know, blogging is hard. It’s gratifying to see your hard work recognized.

As for the posts I’m most proud of, I think my number one is the one I did about blogging burnout. We don’t talk about it, but it’s a serious thing. We talk about burnout in my profession a lot, but not about other things.


Soffii @ A Book. A. Thought asked: What genre have you never read, and why? Do you have any unpopular opinion about books in general?

Hm. I never read straight up romance. I can’t read romance. It’s not my thing. I can only think of one romance book that I’ve enjoyed before, but yeah. I don’t read it! It doesn’t reflect me and I get bored.

But, I have tons about unpopular opinions. I’ve written whole blog posts about it! Schwab, Bardugo, and other authors are way overhyped. Schwab is bad at plotting (never read a book by her I loved or enjoyed a lot). JKR is a horrible person and shouldn’t be considered a human rights campaigner. Kristoff’s Nevernight series is not YA. Oh and Illuminae is so boring when it comes down to it.

I could go on.


Thank you all again for asking me questions! I want to do this again when we get to 1000 followers. Maybe with a giveaway, too. But, we have to get to 1000 first!

Talk to me!

Who was your favorite author as a child?
What do you like most about blogging?
What are your unpopular opinions?

500 Followers!!

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Y’all!

Thank you so much for getting this blog to 500 followers. Honestly, I can’t believe it! So, thank you so, so much for sticking around here with all of the changes and antics.

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I feel this is an accurate depiction of this blog sometimes.

Therefore, I want to do something for you all. No, not a giveaway. One day that will happen! I just need to save my money at the moment.

I want to do a Q&A! Y’all can ask any questions you want. About blogging, about managing this blog, about me, about grad school/social work. Whatever! So, pop on down to the comments and ask something!

But, again:

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Do Not Read “My Brother’s Name is Jessica”: A PSA

Hello all.

This is a non-review because I haven’t read this book and have no intention of doing so. In a way, this is a PSA.

Honestly, I’ve been very disappointed with much of the bookish community with the reaction to a blatantly transphobic book and author. Partially, I think it’s because everyone loves this author — hell, I liked him up until this point — so they don’t want to say much.

But, I am. (Because I can’t shut up and I like putting my 2 cents in when possible.)

I’m referring to My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne.

He wrote a transphobic book that’s coming out today. He’s been telling ownvoices readers that they’re wrong and that he’s not transphobic, all while doubling down by writing a transphobic article.

So, before I put what I wrote on Goodreads here, I want to be very clear. Chantel and I have spoken about this since we still run things by one another even though she’s not a big presence on the blog at the moment. She agreed that this is something we both want to stand for.

Therefore: If I see you reading/reviewing this book on my dashboard, you will be unfollowed. Perhaps you think that you’re just wanting to join in on the book and decide for yourself what you think. Good for you. I still do not want to see people reading, and perhaps defending, a book that has every single trans reviewer saying that it’s blatantly transphobic. I have said this on Instagram for followers there and it will be the same on the blog. Also, this statement is the same on Goodreads.

That being said, here’s my non-review of this book.


I have not read this.

Wanted to get that out there first, you know?

Second, I’m transgender.

And I hate that title. It sounds so ignorant. Based on reviews, perhaps that’s the point of it, but I hate it. Seriously. It comes across as so transphobic and ignorant. It sounds like it should have been published in the early 2000s when it was a teensy bit more acceptable. (Doesn’t excuse it, but it was okay.)

As an ownvoices person, that title alone means I probably won’t read this book. Breaks my heart because I enjoy this author, but, seriously, it just sounds so fucking bad. I’m tired of books that other the trans community.

It’s even worse since I found out about this book on International Transgender Day of Visibility. This is shit that makes us “other” and “novel”. We’re weird and special and, even if we present as a gender identity other than what we were born as, we are still, inherently, the gender that we don’t identify as anymore.

Wow. Writing this review has made me switch my own shelf from “maybe” to “never”. I can’t bring myself to read a book that sounds harmful to the community. These are my own thoughts, too. Just reading that title was triggering to me.

Blogging burnout

So. About those changes.

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This isn’t going to be one of those sweet, loving, adorable personal posts where I tell you how great my life is and all that.

Today, I want to talk to you about blogging burnout.

I’m familiar with burnout from social work. It’s when you’re just tired and exhausted and cynical and everything else. You can’t do any of the work that you need to do despite needing to do it. If you want to know more about the signs, click here.

And, I’m burning out. I’m just running out of steam. This isn’t just with blogging, but just in general. However, it’s really showing up here. I’ve already stepped back from doing Instagram posts every day to help ward off against this.

Since Chantel left, it’s been very hard on me. I’m feeling very discouraged and get so damn stressed about making sure I have posts set-up and am reading enough books and checking the blog a few times a day. And, what I get back from blogging isn’t justifying the stress.

I don’t feel like I’ve been putting my all into reviews because I’m reading and reading and reading to try to make enough content to last me a month, then I’m so busy that I can’t write reviews right away. And so I can’t write quality reviews that I want to.

Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love all of your likes and comments. I love your posts. I love it all. But, I’m just so damn stressed and am barely able to function. Last week, I had a breakdown on Tuesday because I was so stressed. Chantel and I talked about this, too, because I value her input in the blog even if she’s no longer an active presence.

That means I’ve made a decision about the blog that did not come lightly. I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time, going between various ideas that included quitting altogether or bringing in another blogger to create content. I don’t want my mental health to suffer. I’m very much a go-getter so I don’t like doing this, but I know that I have to.

I’ve come to this conclusion.

I will not be posting daily anymore.

My goal is to post somewhere between 3-5 times a week.

What will the blog schedule look like?

Well, it’s going to look something like this.

  • Top Ten Tuesday every week
  • A tag that I’ve been tagged in bimonthly on Thursdays
  • Fridays: alternate between First Lines Friday and Down the TBR Hole
  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays will feature a book review.

And, that’s basically it.

I don’t really like that I’m dropping back because I’ve loved posting daily for the past months. However, as Chantel is currently on an indefinite hiatus and I’m in graduate school, that’s not feasible. Making this decision, I already feel so much lighter. I don’t feel nearly as stressed and I’ve been able to enjoy reading more.

These changes are going to be effective immediately.

Despite these changes, I’m going to be around each and every day to like your posts. I’m hoping that this will translate to me having more time to comment on your posts as well.

Thank you all for following us. I know that we are in awe at how many of you there are. And that goes for whether you’ve been here from the start or recently found us. Thank you all so much. I know my life would be less rich if I hadn’t gotten into this community.

2nd Blogiversary!

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Y’all, it’s March 10th.

That means…

It’s our second blogiversary!!

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So, first and foremost, thank all of you for following us! We seriously can’t believe that you’ve all decided to follow this blog. It’s amazing and gratifying and just has been an experience neither of us would take back.

Second, there will be a few changes coming to the blog! We updated our About Us page, so you should check it out. There are also a few more practical changes coming. There will be a post, so keep your eye out for it.

But, thank you all for following us! We’re so happy that we’ve done this for two years and that we’re getting closer to year three!

My birthday is in a month…?

I’ve waited my whole life to put this song up.

Because, in a month, I’m turning 23. I fully expect this to be the year no one likes me. Thanks blink-182.

But, seriously! I’m turning 23.

This is going to be a ramble-y update post, so hang onto your butts.

What’s happened since my last update post, though?

I’ve started my classes. I have two very good ones — one is about community and organizations while the other is about practicing social work — and one that everyone hates. The professor has checked out because she has officially retired and is just kinda here. Which is fine. It means I don’t have to worry that much about the class.

I’m also still at my current practicum. It’s going well! My current caseload is about five patients. One only wants to be seen once a month, which is fine. Another I see weekly. Then three others I see every two weeks. The three I see every two weeks are ones I’ve had from the beginning, so I love seeing them.

In more news, I also have my clinical (i.e. second) year practicum nailed down! I was a bit hesitant about the placement, but when I interviewed, it felt right. Within five minutes, the person interviewing me was telling people who walked in that I’d be with them next year. So, I’m really excited.

The placement is at an in-patient psychiatric facility. They have various programs, but I’ll be working with the senior adult program. I’ll be doing group therapy, activities, one-on-ones, etc. But, even better, in my second semester, they’ll let me branch out! Like, I can go to the adolescent program for a week. Or any of the others they have. I can experiment and work with populations that I don’t usually get to.

Even better, I could, theoretically, get hired by them if there’s a job opening. If there’s not, I could get a contract with them and be employed as needed.

So, basically, I’ve been good. Very busy, but good.


Talk to me!
How are you all??
What’s been going on with you?

400 Followers!!

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This is a pretty spontaneous post, but omg y’all!

400 of you follow us! I’m absolutely speechless about this. All of you are amazing. Thank you for supporting us as our blog develops and changes, and helping us grow on here, Instagram, and Twitter.

I’ve had a pretty bad day, so getting on to check things out made it a whole lot better.

So, thank you for all the likes, comments, and feedback on our blog. Thank you for all the laughs and insight you’ve given. Thank you for everything.

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