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!)




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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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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