Beakish Discussions — Navigating the Book Block and the ARCs


And no, ARC does not mean like that thing Noah put all the animals on two-by-two to traverse the flood.  Although honestly, sometimes I feel this might be the case in my life–I put ARCs two by two by a million on my Kindle, and then keep my fingers crossed I can get to them all in time!

In this instance, ARC means Advanced Reader Copies.  If you’ve been around the Book Block for a while, you’ll know that ARCs are the Penguin Pebbles to DIE for — because it means you might get to read your most anticipated reads EARLIER than the rest of the Penguin world!  EXCITING, right?!  ARCs might also come in the form of review requests, so these are pretty much like the tuna in a sandwich for us bookish Penguins.  I mean, we flip our flappers for ARCs, am I right?!  Of course I am, I’m the Royal Beakiness around here–I’m always right. (unless you ask me about life, or boys, or work, oooor…basically anything not bookish.)

What I want to know, on this stormiest of stormy Fridays, is how YOU keep up with all your ARC-ish needs!  I try my best to prioritize by keeping a handy dandy calendar.  All books that need reviews to go live by certain dates get put on the calendar and are the FIRST PRIORITY….even if this means that some weeks, I find myself reading 9 books (yes, I did just do this recently.  I survived!  I’m alive!  It’s definitely doable, but I don’t recommend it either unless you have BUCKET AMOUNTS of time on your hands.  I, unfortunately, do not these days–GMing takes up pretty much aaaaaall of my time!)

So I mean…. while I’ve managed to keep up on reading ARCs (mostly)…I also have a SLEW of backlogged review requests I haven’t been able to even touch yet, pushed to the back burner every time I receive a new one with a set GO LIVE OR GO HOME date.  How do you Penguins handle the madness?!  Do you stop taking review requests (I don’t wanna, you can’t make me)?  Do you stop requesting a spot on book tours, or requesting ARCs from book tour companies (NONONONONO say it ain’t so!)?  Is there some other secret method of awesome you use?!

(Someone, PURLEEEEEASE tell me you’ve found Hermione’s Time Turner!)

Image result for time turner harry potter gif

So, how do you do it?!  How do you keep up on the ARC brigade, maintain your online presence in an awesome and fulfilling way, respond to comments, snap pretty frilly instagram pictures, have a life, read, etc etc etc?!  HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL?!  Please, someone, tell me some tricks and things, because while I’ve managed to keep up on my reading, instagramming, and posting (in terms of reviews, reveals, blitzes, etc…) the rest of this poor Penguin’s blog has somehow dwindled into nothing, and I need to change that.

HELP ME, PLEASE?!?!?!  There are so many buckets of tuna in it for everyone who does, you’ll never go hungry again.

(which….once again, puts THAT song in my head.  seriously, this song has been stuck in my head for something like two weeks–it just won’t leave!)




Booking the Book Criminals

If you’re a book addict, you already know:  books do bad things.  And we, dedicated masochists that we are, LET them–with no more than a slap on the wrist and, very rarely, a stern “bad form!”

Well, NO MORE!  I’m taking a stand!  It’s time to crack down on these criminals.  It’s time for these books to be booked.  It’s time for

Book Jail

(it’s also time for me to stop trying to be punny, because penguins, that was terrible!)


There you have it–just a few of the books I’ve locked up, and why!

What reads would YOU put in book jail?!  Feel free to leave your thoughts below!

Until next time, penguins, I’ll be keeping your reading worlds safe–apprehending book criminals one page at a time!

(okay, seriously, someone help me–my puns are suffering!)

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The BEST Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves

We’ve all been there, browsing tumblr or scrolling through our twitter feeds.  Innocently going about our days, when suddenly we stumble across the most gorgeous bookshelf set-up to EVER grace our internet.  Cue the jealousy demon, all red-eyes and dramatic turmoil–complete with annoying, heavy sighs.

How, we find ourselves asking, can I get MY shelves to look like that?!  What must I do, book gods; what must I sacrifice?!

Immediately after which, we spend an INSANE amount of time–eight hours, three weeks, so long we forget when we even started this crazy project and when was the last time we ate?!–completely and utterly FAILING to replicate the gorgeousness that was those shelves.

What, OH WHAT, is a book penguin to do?!?!

Well, worry no longer!  Allow me to introduce you to


Don’t.  Buy.  Books

I mean, this is obviously the easiest solution.  You don’t have to stress about how to organize your bookshelves if you don’t have BOOKS to put in them!  So go out, buy whatever style bookcase you want (there are some gooooorgeous ones, if you’re brave enough to look!)…

And then tell everybody they’re statement pieces.  Give them long, artsy titles if you’d like–circa This Is Just To Say That We, In General As People, Own Too Much Stuff And Not Enough Space, So I’m Collecting It Here.  It’s a mouthful, but it works.

Alternatively, you could fill your shelves with things NOT books.  Need more closet space because your wonderful significant other has FINALLY decided to move in?!  Bookshelves.  Have a growing collection of Funko! Pops and no place to put them?  Bookshelves.  Developed a strange obsession for all things penguin and want to show them off (and, possibly, traumatize your guests?)  BOOKSHELVES!

See, problem solved!

Switch it Up

And by this, I mean every shelf is different, because we aren’t confused enough already. Maybe the top shelf will be a book spine rainbow, the middle dedicated to that one author who for some reason FAR out numbers all the other authors even if they’re maybe no longer your FAVORITE author…and the bottom to all the pretty covers of ever!  Pick a system–pick several!  Switch it up!

Forget remembering where certain books are–and penguins help you if you need to pull something off the shelves!  There’s no taking it back once it’s organized, so don’t even THINK about it dude.

Also, book avalanches?  Are a thing.  And they HURT.  So pull gently, if you pull at all.

Don’t Shelve ANY of Them

Better yet, get rid of your shelves completely!  You have plenty of unused floor space, right?!  Start stacking!  I recommend starting with books inching up one wall, and then expanding (like skin fungus!) from there.

Make yourself a maze of spines and release your guests/family to the chaos like lab rats solving puzzles for cheese.  I mean, you don’t HAVE to give them cheese…you could use Twizzlers, or more books!  But some incentive is probably a good idea, otherwise people start to smell a bit funky.

Running out of room?!  No problem!  Just dump aaaaaaaaaall the pretties on the floor and learn how to swim.  It’s just like a ball pit, really…except with books!  So, you know, watch the sharp edges, and try not to belly flop–I can’t imagine belly paper cuts feel good.

And there you go!  Three (possibly just slightly insane) ideas on saving yourself the hassle of bookshelf organization!  Because who has TIME to figure out a cleaner way to do this shizz, right?  Penguins knows I don’t.

What do you guys think of these genius suggestions?  Would you ever (or do you already) employ any of them?

(If I’m being 100% honest…we have a whole bookcase worth of books stacked on our dining room table right now, because two bookshelves totally stuffed to the brim does not a lot more room left make).  Feel free to share your thoughts/comments in the down-below, please!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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How To: Read Heartbreaking Chapters Like a Champ


If you’re anything like me, you will be the FIRST to admit you both love and loathe plot twists.  Love, because who doesn’t like surprises of the intense heartbreak variety?!  And loathe because… Well, intense heartbreaks are hard on the heart!

I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way!  Here are several (ingenious, if I do say myself) ways to read those soul-shattering moments like the badass we all know you are (way, waaaaay down deep inside, in my case).

Displace the Pain

Have a ton of rubber bands lying around?

Keep one on your wrist!  Each time you sense heartache coming on, start snapping that sucker!  Sure, you’ll still be crying when the scene reaches Zetus Lupeetus, drama-MAJOR levels (sorry, I’ve recently OD-ed on Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century)…but you can totes blame the welts for that, right?

Blare those Tunes

Think about it:  hearts are like teeny, tiny, emotional robots.

If we confuse them, or overwhelm them, they shut down.  Refuse to work.  So grab your headphones, find your favorite country station, and blast the emotions out of orbit!  Just…make sure you don’t damage your eardrums in the process.

Also, be warned:  OD-ing on country music may lead to line dancing, strange vocabulary, and/or boot, scoot, ‘n’ boogying.  Proceed with extreme caution!

Book it to Time Out

Until that hurtful, nasty book rewrites itself or apologizes, send it to the corner!

I mean, this always worked on me growing up…and books are basically children, right?!  Ask ANY booknerd!

Of course, you MIGHT never finish a book again with this tactic, so there’s that.

Just Skip ‘Em!

Who needs to read the whole book, anyway?!

Just skip over EVERY chapter that even LOOKS like it could be painful.  Problem solved!

How do YOU guys avoid plot-twist heartache?  Would you ever try these ideas on for size?  Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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The Not-S0-Brilliant Ways Book Addicts can get MORE Sleep

The following ideas are not recommended for long-term, book-induced insomnia relief.  They may cause:  comas; permanent injury; altered cognitive state; unplanned vacations through old wardrobes, strange rabbit holes, and the space-time continuum; the incorrect and improper usage of books for the rest of forever.

These steps are meant for the most desperate of book addicts ONLY.  Please exercise extreme caution when seeking the wormholes to dreamland with these ideas.

This post is not suitable for children; anyone with brittle bones; or those who can’t commit to the pain and frustration these techniques might bring.

Please ask your doctor about

The Not-So-Brilliant Ways Book Addicts can get MORE Sleep

program today!

Seriously, guys.  I’m sure you’ve all been there at least once.  It’s late at night, you should have entered LaLaLand via the eyelid express HOURS ago, and you just CAN’T.  STOP.  READING.

Books are tricky little devils, aren’t they?  They whisper promises and sweet nothings in our ears, seduce us into picking them up at very inconvenient moments for just one sentence, just one page, just one chapter, JUST ONE….

and then OOPS!  Suddenly, it’s three am, you have to greet the sun at seven, and you’ve finished the entire book.  Calling guilt!  Shame!  Very sore eyes!  Heartache.

So how do dedicated book addicts release their grips of death on said devils and get some much-needed shut eye?


Coat your books with lavender oil.  Every single one.  Every single page.

“But Beth!” you say.  “Won’t that ruin the books?!”

Well….perhaps.  But you’ll never read them anyway; pick them up and you’ll be snoozing away before you even hit the first word.  Win!

Listen closely:  Pick up book.  Open.  Read the first word.  Exert TREMENDOUS willpower.  Close book.  Put book on desk.  Lay head on book.

TADA!  Pillow acquired.  Sleep pretty!

Now, this one’s a bit more advanced.  It also requires interacting with OTHER people!  I know,  know–it’s shocking.  I can’t believe it could ever come to this.  But, well…we’re desperate, right?

Know another book addict?  Find out their favorite book.  Ignore any impulse you may have to squee and fangirl over it with them.  Wait until the conversation has moved on to fluffier things…and then strike like a cobra!

Something like, “You know, I’ve never read The Fault in Our Stars” should work beautifully.  Stand back and wait for the hardcovers to fly.

Find a bookshelf (or, better yet, a ROW of bookshelves!)  Stand at one end.  Scream out, “I HAVE NOT READ The Fault in Our Stars!”

Wait for insanity to overtake the rest of the customers.  We’re all zombies at heart, guys.  This shouldn’t take long.

DO NOT RUN AWAY when the bookshelf dominoes begin.  Desperation, remember?

And there you have it!

Several not-so-brilliant (and possibly quite painful) ways book addicts prone to bookish insomnia can MAYBE get more sleep!

(Also, I wasn’t lying-I really haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars)

How do you all release your book monsters and find a way to sleep?  Would you (or have you) ever considered any of the above?  Let me know what you think below!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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How to Hide your Inner Book Nerd


Don’t lie, you all KNOW you’ve had those moments.

You’re decked out in your fandom tees, your bookish necklaces, your character-inspired goodies.  You’re in your own glittery, unicorns-and-rainbows (and maybe heartache?) filled world…when suddenly…

great grandma who you haven’t seen in seventeen years is coming over!  you have to GO OUTSIDE!  you have to INTERACT WITH OTHERS!

What can you possibly do?  Here are a few ideas for how even YOU can

Hide your Inner Book Nerd

Step One:

Never ever ever EVER EVER EVER!!!!!!! admit to being a book nerd.  Ever.  I mean, hear me out.  Do you really want to TALK?!  about books!?!?!?! with people?!!?!?!?!?!?!?! Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Best just sit back and keep your mouth tightly closed.  Grandma brings up a book she’s currently reading and you LOOOOOVED it to Pluto and back?  That’s nice, Peaches.  Don’t.  Say.  Anything.

Trust me.

Step Two:


No, really, step two is soopah important guys.

Pull your sleeves down.  Tuck those dangly bits and bobs up into said sleeves.  Earrings shaped like Harry Potter’s scar?! Nawwwww, they’re just lightning bolts.  Fandom tee?  Put a HOODIE on it!

If all else fails and everything you own is literally book-inspired….wear a bag over your head.  Call yourself Rustles.  Look nobody in the eye.

Step Three: 


Step Four:

Invest in the old Rory/Lane book cover switch.  Because the world’s a scary place, guys–keep your reading safe!  By switching book covers, you can avoid HUGE AWKWARD TALKS with other people.  I mean, who wants to talk to other people anyway, right?

Say you’re already out in the wild, hands full of the book you’re currently binge-reading, when…OH NOES!  Someone else sees the cover and WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT!  What are you gonna do?! (if you’re anything like me, you’ll do one of two things:  1. run far far far away, find a lovely boulder to crawl beneath, and hide for the rest of forever; OR 2. glare murder at the person for interrupting you.  Hello, I’m reading here?  Could you BE any ruder!?)

With the book cover fandango, the world will think you’re reading something boooooooring and will never approach you, ever.  I recommend an advanced calculus cover.  Make the people run screaming the other way.

Step Five:

Seriously, ADMIT.  NOTHING.

Grandma got a glimpse of the Rune temporary tattoo gracing your collarbone?  It’s just smudged dirt, no biggie.  Your second cousin twice removed on your father’s sister’s aunt’s side sees your collection of bookishly nerdy and wonderful tees?  Nawwwww, you don’t know where those even came from.  Someone GOES INTO YOUR ROOM and discovers–beneath the bed, in your dresser, stacked beneath your collection of beanie babies–all your beautiful hardcovers?  What, thooooose?!  I don’t… I’m not sure…. YOU’RE TOTALLY IMAGINING THINGS NOW GET OUT OF MY ROOM!

Or you could just, y’know, suck it up like we all do and take anything life throws your way.  I mean…who wants to go to all the trouble of hiding things, anyway?

Do you guys hide your inner book nerds?  If so, how?  If not…what are some situations you might consider it?

Let me know what you think below!  Until next time, happy book-ing!

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Reconsidering How I Review


Lately, I’ve discovered this niggling voice in the back of my head that insists I can DO BETTER with how I review.  I’ve been considering the many different ways people (especially other bloggers I appreciate/look up to/admire) approach the reviewing conundrum and…I feel like perhaps there’s not enough ME in my reviews, despite how much voice I try to put into them.

So I wonder (and please, PLEASE feel free to jump in and tell me if this is a totally stupid idea or if you guys are totally down with the change) how you’d all feel if I…

–included a “soundtrack” of sorts, with 1-3 songs I feel fit the book’s plot. these would be youtube and embedded into the review, probably spaced between my paragraphs.


–started putting my chosen “excerpts” atop imagines, instead of just block-quoted into the text.  In other words…I’d figure out a specific image, find it (free for use or stock photo or whatever) on google, and then edit the quote onto it.  Or maybe just pick some sort of textured background, and use that?  I think the textured background is the way I’m leaning, actually.

Both these ideas would help break up the text (I feel like I spam you with ALL THE WORDS, basically, and I know not everyone likes that) and bring a bit of “different” to my reviews in general….

I dunno, what do you guys think?  Do you like one or the other of these ideas?  PLEASE feel free to let me know!–I’d love to hear your opinions!

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I Challenge You!


Regarding Challenged/Banned Books

So last night before wrestling started and I lost the husband to the madness of male soap operas

AHEM…he stumbled across the ALA’s list of most challenged books for 2015.

I busted a gut–

–listening to him read the various reasons for *why* these books have been challenged.  Like, this was me:

A few SPECIFIC *reasons* struck me as oooooodd, so…let’s talk about those, shall we?!

First things first…

Inappropriate for Age Group 

I’m sorry, let me repeat that:  this book, an ADULT novel, written for ADULTS with consenting ADULTS as the main characters…is not age appropriate.

Like…I’m gonna be honest, as an abuse survivor I could never read this series myself –just reading ABOUT these books gives me serious panic attacks, I mean I literally hyperventilate–BUT.  BUT.

–It’s an adult novel?!
–How is an ADULT novel “not age appropriate” ?!
–All adults are, apparently, now considered naive, precious cinnamon rolls.  Adults are no longer allowed to make informed decisions about the books they, consentingly, pick up.  Adults are no longer able to even with their reading.  At all.

I just…can’t wrap my head around this.  I mean yeah, the reasons went on to say that they’re “worried teenagers will want to try it”…..BUT C’MON, people!

Good gracious penguins.

Which brings us to…

“Age” Appropriate

Because honestly, this has been bothering me for a while.  I have just one question:

How does anyone have the right to decide what is “appropriate” for…anyone?!…else?!?!?!

–Every reader is different.
–Most readers know what they are/are not comfortable with.
–The internet exists.  Readers know how to use the google machine.
–They can always, y’know, choose NOT to read the problem book?  Or, GASP!  put a book down if it’s not working.
–Common sense?

I mean, I guess I just figure most 3 year olds will NOT be starting their reading careers off with Stephen King.  (Of course, there are exceptions.  My husband, for instance, who WAS reading King at 3.  No worries!  He turned out fine!  Uhm.  Mostly.)

I mean…I dunno.

What do you think?  Does it make sense for an adult novel to have an “age” restriction?  Where do we draw the line with that, even?!  How do we know when to stop censoring and start letting people make their own choices/mistakes?  THIS LIFE IS YOURS TO DO WITH AS YOU WILL!…am I right?!

Any comments or things you’d like to add, guys?  What reason for “challenging” a book is your favorite?  Which one reaaaaally grinds your gears?

Let me know below!  Until next time, happy book-ing!

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Regarding Reading (#7)

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I’m switching things up a bit this week.  Instead of doing a post with GIFs and insanity, I want to ask an actual question…Hopefully, you’re willing to tell it to me straight!  (in other words…I’d love to see answers!)

What’s the weirdest book you’ve ever read?

Now, I understand we all have our own definitions of “weird,” so I’m leaving this pretty open to interpretation–feel free to tell me WHY it was weird, if you’d like!  Was it weird because it smelled like broccoli cheddar soup, and that made you constantly hungry?  Was it weird because you had a ferret perched on your head the whole time you were reading?  Was it weird for any number of different reasons (regarding plot, writing style, formatting, etc.)?

I ask because we ALL know I’m all about the weird books, and I’m seeking to add more to my endless “want to read” list.  The stranger, the better!

To answer my OWN question… I think a few of the strangest books I’ve ever read include:

The Medium (Liminality, #1)

Through the Woods

The Girl In Between (The Girl In Between Series #1)



for…varying reasons.

So–what’s the weirdest book YOU’ve ever read?

Let me know below!

Until next time, happy book-ing!



Regarding Reading (#6)

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This post, we’re going to discuss

Bookish Emotions

Most specifically…how ugly your sobbing is when the books get REAL!

Let’s take it slow.  There’s…

The Stone-Cold Heart

The Lone Tear

and, of course,

The Ugly, Uncontrollable Sob

Which emotional level are YOU most likely to fall into when reading?  (I mean, on average–because obviously some books touch us more than others.)  I have to admit, I am USUALLY in the Stone-Cold Heart group… books might hurt me, but I very rarely cry over them.  I think there have been…maybe 3? ever to cause gross-sobbing.  Leave me your thoughts/comments below!

Until next time, happy book-ing!