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April Book Haul – My Latest Purchases & Acquired ARCs

Hi everyone in the galaxy! April is ending and I thought it’d be a fun idea to show you guys which books I got this month. At first, I was unsure about whether to make this post or not, but I figured it doubles pretty well as a book recommendations post (cheap books am I right) so why not. Lots of these books have been anticipated reads for me so I’m really excited to finally own them in one way or another. If I got any books you’ve already read, let me know what you thought of them. Let’s look at the books I got in April.

Ebooks & eARCs I Got in April

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I bought the following four ebooks during the beginning of April. They were all on sale, and you know how much I love a sale, I grabbed them as fast as I could. I always have my eyes out on Amazon and their sales since they often come out of nowhere.

  • As You Breathe Again by Molli Moran. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance, new adult, interracial romance, and contemporary.
  • Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance, contemporary, and new adult.
  • Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are contemporary, young adult, mental illness, and romance.
  • When Sparks Fly by Ines Bautista-Yao. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance, chick lit, and new adult.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is still on sale for 1.59$ so I’d definitely get that one if you’re interested. The rest are 5$ or under.

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I also purchased the following four ebooks during April and they were basically a steal for me. I’m excited for every single one of these ones.

  • Lilacs and Vanilla by CS Patra. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are women’s fiction and lesbian fiction.
  • At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance, new adult, and contemporary.
  • What About Today by Dawn Lanuza. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance, young adult, and contemporary.
  • I Am More Than a Daydream by Jennae Cecelia. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are poetry and inspirational & religious.

Lilacs and Vanilla is only 0.99$ at the moment and At Any Price is currently free. The rest are 3$ each.

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The following four are the last ebooks I got this month. The first two are already published and the last two are eARCs.

  • The Beast That Never Was by Caren J. Werlinger. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are fantasy, LGBT, romance, fantasy, and retellings.
  • Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon. The genres of the book are fantasy, young adult, mystery, and LGBT.
  • Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology (received an ARC through the blog tour). You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it on Amazon. The genres of the book are romance and anthologies.
  • Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais (received an ARC through Edelweiss). You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it on Amazon. The genres of the book are young adult and cultural.

The Beast That Never Was is currently free on Amazon so I would definitely grab that one. The pre-order price for Summer Feels is 2$ so I would definitely check that one out. I’m currently reading it and it’s really cute.

Physical Books & ARCs I Got in April

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I only got two physical books this month. The first one I pre-ordered ages ago and the other was an ARC, my first ever physical ARC actually, which is really exciting.

  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon or Book Depository. The genres of the book are contemporary, young adult, and romance.
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (received an ARC through the publisher). You can add the book to your TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it on Amazon or Book Depository. The genres of the book are contemporary, young adult, romance, and school.

What books have you gotten this month? Have you gotten any of the ones I did? If you know a great book that’s on sale right now I would love to hear about it. 

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ARC Review of How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

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downloadHow to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, and Contemporary

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Selling points: Bisexual representation, explores different kinds of grief and has an interracial relationship.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

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Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, for my e-ARC of How to Make a Wish I received through Netgalley. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book early!

Trigger warning for parental neglect and emotional abuse, as well as implied sexual assault (one of the characters implies they were inappropriately touched at a bar, but the scene is not on the page).

How to Make a Wish surprised me, and had a lot of the aspects I want and crave in an excellent book. All of my friends who read this book early swore it was amazing and How to Make a Wish really delivered, and then some. This book has complex and fully fleshed characters that you will instantly fall in love with. I laughed, I cried (more like bawled like a baby) and was filled with utter joy because of this book, because of Grace’s bravery and Eva’s strength, and their shared love for each other. This book really is something special and I would recommend it to everyone who loves a young adult book that doesn’t shield away from the sad and messy parts of life, the beauty that exists between all of it and the complexity of loving someone and still knowing they’re not treating you right.

What really makes you fall in love with How to Make a Wish is the characters. We have the protagonist of the story, bisexual Grace Glasser, and her relationship with her mother, a mother who is reckless and acts like a child, making Grace the adult in the relationship. It was truly heartbreaking to see Grace deal with her mother, constantly being crushed by her expectations for things being better this time. Grace dreams of becoming a pianist, but even that dream seems impossible when her mother is completely dependent on Grace. However, there is also Luca, Grace’s best friend, and his mother and their support and love for Grace is endless and beautiful. Grace is basically a part of Luca’s family. Luca knows Grace likes no one else and he loves her so much, despite their ups and downs. Their friendship was one of my favorite parts of the book.

“But it was so easy. Up there, I didn’t belong to a messed-up mother. She wasn’t the grieving daughter. We were just Grace and Eva.”

Then we have Eva, biracial, gay and the love interest of the story, who moved to live with Luca’s family after her mother died unexpectedly. Eva had a hard time dealing with life without her mother, in a new place where nothing is the same, not even her love for ballet. I fell in love with Eva immediately, she is sarcastic and strong, and a character I think many will feel for. When Grace and Eva meet, there was an instant connection. Two lonely, motherless girls found comfort in spending summer nights together at the top of a lighthouse and before they knew it, it became something so much more than just two girls finding contentment in each other. I love Grace and Eva’s relationship because it’s so soft and tender, which is something I really miss in f/f relationships. There is something so incredibly heartwarming about the connection Eva and Grace has and I love how this book shows us the insecurities and complexities that exist with it.

“Then her whole hand slides across my whole hand, and our fingers are all mixed up, pale and dark, lavender on dark purple, wrapped over and around. The tree creaks ominously, but I don’t care. I forget about everything that came before this – every [pissed off] and jealous emotion I had from earlier tonight, gone.”

You can’t discuss How to Make a Wish without mentioning the writing. Blake truly draws you in with her use of words and imagery, and the voice of Grace is one that makes it impossible to put the book down. There are funny and sarcastic moments, sad and heartbreaking scenes, and everything in between, and Blake delivers in her execution. How to Make a Wish has amazing bisexual representation and a masturbation scene that needs to be celebrated since they are so rarely featured in YA books.

All in all, How to Make a Wish is a book you need to put on your radar this spring and summer. This book is so beautiful it hurts. You will fall in love with Grace, Eva, and Luca and see their struggles, their happy moments, and most importantly of all, their happy endings despite life not being easy or fair. This story is about grief, freedom and the complexity of love. How to Make a Wish is a magical mess of beauty, sadness, love, dreams and wishes and a book that deserves all of the praise in the world.

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The Book Blogger A to X Guide For Beginners and Veteran Bloggers

Hey everyone in the galaxy! Today I have a post for you all that I haven’t really had before, a guide. A while back I had my first blog anniversary and with a deadline the same week, no special celebration really happened. However, it got me thinking about what I can bring back to you guys after having been a book blogger for over a year now and so this book blogger guide was born. It is just as much for beginners as it is for veteran bloggers. To summarize, it’s basically just some tips, tricks and reminders for all of you book bloggers out there among the stars. I hope you’ll find it helpful.

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A as in Advanced Review Copies, ARCs.

It’s sort of fitting that ARCs is the first thing we’ll discuss in this guide. Most book bloggers want advanced review copies to read and review early on their blog. There are multiple ways to go about this, some easier than others, but I’ll try to give you my best. If you are a beginner my advice is to start on a website called NetGalley. This website is easy to navigate and easy to get started with. You simply sign up, write a bio and start requesting advanced review copies. When you just start out it can be hard to get approved for books since publishers tend to look at statistics of how well you send in reviews for books you’ve been given (but you’re new and don’t really have that). However, a good idea is to keep on requesting books anyway and also checking out the “Read Now” titles since anyone can read those. Eventually, you’ll get approved and be able to get a higher percentage on your profile. Out of all of the ways to get ARCs, I think this one is the easiest, especially if you’re just starting out.

There are of course other ways to get advanced review copies as well: directly through the publisher, through authors contacting you or through Edelweiss+. I have not used Edelweiss a lot to request books, and truthfully they’ve not yet accepted any books for me there, however, I keep on trying anyway. Edelweiss also recently updated their website, and if you’ve used the website before (unlike me), then I can imagine it’s an adjustment. However, I really like the new layout and think it’s pretty easy to navigate after playing around for a while. Their customer service is great and you have nothing to lose by trying to request ARCs there as well. A secret I’ve read about which can up your chances of getting accepted on there is to crosspost your reviews on Edelweiss. Unlike on Netgalley, you can upload reviews on Edelweiss for books you haven’t received an ARC for. Just search for the title on the home page (most titles both old and new are on there) and upload your review once you find the book you’re looking for. That way publishers can easily see your work on the website and it might make them more inclined to accept you in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, you can also get ARCs through emails in two different ways. The first way is that authors or publishers find your blog, like your reviews, and email you with a review request. You can’t do a lot to help with this except blog continuously and make sure it’s easy for people to find where they can contact you. Usually, the bigger your blog gets, the more review requests you get. However, you can also contact publishers yourself. There are lots of bloggers who have written about how to go about this, a simple Google search will help you. However, I have a few quick tips for you. If you know of a book you want to read and review early you first of all need to find out which publisher the book has. After that, go to their website and find the appropriate imprint and person to contact. Usually, they make it very clear who to contact, but a safe bet is the marketing department or similar. Then you just send them an email with information about yourself, the book you want to request and which format of you book you are willing to review. That’s about all I know when it comes to Advanced Review Copies.

B as in Blog Hopping.

If you want to make friends, get more traffic, and read what other book bloggers write about then one thing I really recommend you do is blog hopping. If you’re a beginner that phrase might be new to you but what it means is that you go from blog to blog (you hop between blogs) and read, and comment on, other bloggers’ posts. If you have WordPress a simple “like” on a post can be enough to show appreciation of it but to truly get to know more bloggers then commenting is the way to go. Something I personally want to get better at is just setting a specific time of the week just for blog hopping since I tend to easily forget to do it. Either way, it’s really fun to interact with others who do the same thing as you do and see what creative posts they’ve come up with. To make book blogging more fun and interactive blog hopping is the way to go.

C as in Consistency.

If you run a book blog I think consistency is something that’s good to remember. Consistency means different things depending on the posts you publish but basically, it’s all about trying your best to keep your promises to your readers. If they expect you to post on Mondays then try to do that to the best of your ability (however, you’re only human so it’s not something to get stressed about, just think about).

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D as in Diverse Books.

If you are in the book community then you need to know about the organization We Need Diverse Books.  The organization’s mission is, according to their website, “Putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.” You can read more about their vision, mission and their definition of diversity here. I believe in the importance of marginalized readers being represented in books. For too long, books have had nothing but white, straight and otherwise privileged characters in books with either no diverse characters at all or just token characters that exist not to give representation but to fill a quota or to further the white characters’ growth through their misery, death or otherwise problematic subplot. Diverse books enrich our world, the book community, and marginalized readers’ lives. If you are a book blogger, my advice to you is to read as diversely as you can. You can do that in so many different ways, but my tip is to look at people that have recommendation lists for books that represent different minorities. Make sure to broaden your reading list to include a large variety of identities and intersections. You can find a broad list of diverse recommendations on We Need Diverse Books’ website here. I also have a few Goodreads shelves with recommendations. Here is my shelf for books with authors of color, books with LGBTQIA+ characters, and Jewish characters. However, these lists are in no way complete or the only books to read if you want to read diversely. If you want help to read more diversely you can also participate in #DiversityBingo2017 which was started by a group of people on Twitter. All of the information about this book challenge and the people who started it can be seen in their graphic. To see book recommendations for the challenge you can search for the hashtag on Twitter. Multiple bloggers have made recommendation lists for the bingo challenge. There is always a way to read more diversely and you should aspire to read books that represent the world the way it actually looks like and represents people who are everywhere around you in the world.

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ARC August 2016 TBR

Today is the first day of August and I’ll be partaking in an event called ARC August created by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat. I really couldn’t be more excited, I have quite a few couple of ARCs that I want to get through this month and joining this event will really push me to get those review copies behind me.

So which books will I be reading? Well first of all we should look through which ARCs I actually own. Mostly I have a bunch I got throughout the year on Netgalley, and the ones I currently have on my Netgalley shelf are,

Another ARC I also have, which was given to me by the author is,

All in all I have 9 ARCs that I can choose from and read but considering the fact that August is going to be a pretty busy month for me I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through them all. The goal I’m going to aim for is 4, about one ARC per week. Will I make it? I’m not sure but I’m excited to find out!

Are you partaking in ARC August? Which books are you going to read this month? Let me know in the comments or on my Twitter.