Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Aren’t Set in the Western World

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is books that aren’t set in or inspired by the Western World, so nothing in North America or Western Europe! That also means no Fantasy or Sci-fi that may have been inspired by these places so nothing medieval based in a fantasy for example!

This is such a fun topic that calls for us to really think outside the box and opens the way for us to potentially find more diverse reads!

These are also in NO particular order and if I have reviews I will link them up as well!

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5.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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While this is YA fantasy not directly set in the real world it’s pretty clearly based off of Russia and Russian culture. Therefore I’m just going to say it counts! It’s also a very well written, fast paced, heist book and I say the hype is worth it!

You can read my full review of “Six of Crows” here.


4.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

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This is a historical retelling with a gender bent Vlad the Impaler as one of the main characters. It’s set in the 1400s in both Wallachia, which is modern day Romania, and the Ottoman Empire, which is mostly modern day Turkey.

I personally thought White did her research very well for this story!

You can read my full review of “And I Darken” here.


3.) The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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This is a 1,001 Nights (a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories) retelling set in the Middle East and it also has some fantasy elements but they’re clearly inspired by Middle Eastern culture as well.

You can read my mini review of “The Wrath & The Dawn” here.


2.) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This is a YA fantasy story but it’s also a retelling of “Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp” which is a story from 1,001 Nights (which as stated above is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories). The story and it’s setting are inspired by the Middle East.

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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This is a fantasy and steampunk story that was inspired by Japan or the Eastern World if you will. I, personally, really enjoyed this book but I have heard people mention that it was not researched very well and the Japanese vocabulary wasn’t used correctly. That’s why I’m saying the book is “inspired by” versus saying “based on” and I acknowledge other people’s claims that this wasn’t necessarily the best book as far as the cultural representation goes.

However, it’s still inspired by the Eastern World so I decided it applies here and as I said I did still enjoy the story. It’s nice to see steampunk elements in a book that isn’t set in Western Europe!

You can read my full review of “Stormdancer” here.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some books you’ve read or have on your TBR that aren’t set in the Western World?

Do you have any recommendations?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Retellings I’d Like To See More Of!

 

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Everybody likes a good retelling don’t they because I know I do! It’s really fun and interesting to see different, unique spins on stories we already know! However, there seem to be some stories out there that just don’t get enough love in my opinion. This list just puts together a few I’d really like to see done or see more of and they aren’t “fairy tale” specific either!

My list is specifically  referring to the YA genre for the most part.

Of course if I have happened to read an example of one of these I will link up a review or mention a retelling I know of even if I haven’t read it yet. I will also link up the books I have not read to their Goodreads pages! I will bold the ones that are personal reviews.

Also if you know of any retellings for these please let me know in the comments!

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Robin Hood

Such a popular classic story, wouldn’t you agree? However, as much I feel we see Robin Hood represented in other things such as movies or TV shows we really don’t get to see any different spins on the tale in books. I do know of one YA retelling called “Scarlet” by A. C. Gaughen.

I’d really like to see the same kind of idea as in “Scarlet” where outside characters interact with Robin Hood, or maybe a gender-bent Robin Hood, or maybe even a sci-fi retelling!


Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp

Of course the story of Aladdin has been done a couple of times already but I still feel like I haven’t read enough Aladdin retellings! With all of the One Thousand and One Nights retellings that have been coming out recently I just feel it’d be even more appropriate for more Aladdin as well. There is a retelling called “A Whole New World” by Liz Braswell based off of the Disney version but it hasn’t really received great reviews. There’s also “The Forbidden Wish” by Jessica Khoury that is a simply amazing retelling where Aladdin falls in love with the gender bent genie, I highly recommend it!

I’d like to see more retellings in the style of Khoury’s with gender bent characters or a badass “Princess Jasmine” (I know that’s only her name in the Disney version but you get what I mean!) or even a gender bent Aladdin would be neat too! Really though I’m just down for any kind of retelling.


Beowulf

How epic and awesome would a Beowulf retelling be?! Ya know because the poem is already “epic” …………see what I did there?

Anyways, I actually heard there was going to be a sort of gender bent retelling coming out next year called “The Boneless Mercies” by April Genevieve Tucholke. Hopefully it turns out fantastic because I’m usually not the biggest fan of Tucholke’s writing.

However, I’d be really really interesting to see any kind of retelling of Beowulf like the gender bend Tucholke is doing or maybe a retelling from Grendel or Grendel’s mother’s POV?


The Arthurian Legends

Really just any of them from King Arthur and Excalibur, the Knights of the Round Touble, Merlin, or Morgan le Fay. Just any retelling on any aspect of the Arthurian Legends I need some authors to do this! I’m thinking it would make for some pretty great YA fantasy if it was done properly!


The Little Mermaid

Of course I feel it’s pretty safe to say we all know the story of The Little Mermaid but aside from the Disney adaptation are there really that many other retellings of it? The recent release “The Seafarer’s Kiss” by Julia Ember is the only retelling I know of and it combines a bit of Norse mythology with a F/F romance as well.

I’d love to see a retelling of this story since I feel there’s many creative ways to do it, the main character doesn’t even necessarily need to be a mermaid (even though mermaids are pretty great).


Hansel & Gretel

I really don’t know of any retellings of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale and why that is I have no idea! The only representation I can think of is the movie Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which I like the concept of. I’d really like to see a dark, horror retelling of this tale or something similar to that movie where the two characters are witch hunters.


Hua Mulan

I know that there are technically several retellings of this legend but in my mind just because your main character is disguising herself as a man doesn’t make it a  Hua Mulan retelling. So while books such as “The Flame in the Mist” by Renee Ahdieh, “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” by Hannah West (which was actually amazing), and “Defy” by Sara B. Larson have all been labeled as such I want the REAL deal! I’m thinking either fantasy or more historical fiction-y would work well!


The Iliad & The Odyssey

I know that Madeline Miller has done a retelling of “The Iliad” featuring a M/M romance with “The Song of Achilles” and is going to be publishing a sort of “Odyssey” retelling called “Circe” from the witch Circe’s POV as well which is fantastic! ( I also know those aren’t really YA either) However, why aren’t there more of these? There are so many different characters and creatures to work with from both epic poems I feel there should be more especially in YA!

It’d also be really great to have more M/M or F/F/ romances in them or maybe even some gender swapped characters as well.


Hades & Persephone or “The Abduction Myth”

As many retellings or uses we see of Greek mythology in modern literature we really don’t see all that much of the goddess Persephone or of her abduction by Hades. I feel like the overall allusion of this myth may be used quite a bit but there really aren’t any specific retellings.

I feel once again a gender-bend or M/M or F/F could make for a very interesting retelling of this myth. Or even just a twist where Hades might not be that bad of a guy and he and Persephone actually fall in love kind of like a “Beauty and the Beast” thing. Just throwing this out there since it’s one of my favorite myths, I know it sounds weird but I love how her story is an origin myth for the seasons.


Honorable mentions (since I don’t know a whole TON about these stories but would still like to see some retellings of them!)

  • The Snow Queen
  • Sinbad the Sailor

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Do you want to see any of these retellings as well?

Do you have any recommendations for books that are retellings on this list?

What are some retellings you’d like to see more of?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Books I Just HAD To Have…..& Still Haven’t Read

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The other day I was looking at my bookshelves and noticing all of the books I’ve bought under the delusion that I could NOT wait and HAD to have them right away……and then still haven’t read them.

This makes me wonder sometimes if I’m actually nuts or not because why do I torture myself like this? Plus everyone always tells me “hey remember when you bought all those books and still haven’t read them? You don’t need more until you read those.” which they’re sort of right….

So I thought that it would be a great idea to share what a horrible reader/book hoarder I am with you all!

Basically this is me:

And then after not reading any of them:

I’ll be putting these in order of how long I’ve actually had these sitting around my house starting with the newest additions!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Of course with all of the hype that was surrounding this book before and after it’s May release date I had to get my hands on it! Most of the time I don’t give into the hype, or at least I like to think so, I just thought everything about this book sounded wonderful: diverse characters and culture, a cute cover, and non-stop glowing reviews!

Then obviously I couldn’t wait to get a copy and then it arrived and now it’s just sitting all lonely on my shelf because I’m a terrible person…….


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

I actually ordered this with “When Dimple Met Rishi” because once again I could not wait and just haaaad to have a copy right away! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I’ve seen great reviews for it, plus I think it will be interesting to read about a dysfunctional relationship in a YA setting. I know that makes me sound weird but it’s nice to see unique books and books bringing attention to abuse like this (because it happens).


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

If I was going to rate all of these books by which book I was literally dying to have “Strange the Dreamer” would be #1 because I seriously acted like I was going to die without this book in my life. I even went to the trouble of ordering a UK edition as well because I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK AND LAINI TAYLOR IS LIFE!

And guess where the book is sitting? On my shelf. Unread.


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

I was super pumped for this book before it came out and then with all of the great reviews afterwards I was even more excited for it. Female gladiator! That’s all I want in my books so when I was in the bookstore and saw it I decided to splurge and buy it right then and there because I NEEDED IT. Now it’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months……


Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

I bought this book along with my spontanous purchase of “The Valiant” as well. You can see where this got me.


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

When I saw this book come out at first I was like: Norse Mythology?! Told by Neil Gaiman?! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY! So I kind of started it and then slowly it worked its way back onto my shelf where it is still sitting waiting to be finished.


The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Everyone, everyone, everyone recommends reading this series and I saw the box set on sale on Book Outlet for about $12.00 so of course I was all “Hell yeah!” and bought it right away. Soooooooooo it’s all sitting on my shelf still unread where it will probably remain for a while.


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

This was a spontaneous buy I got with birthday money last year and I decided to use that money for this book because once again…..I couldn’t resist. It’s even a shorter book and I STILL haven’t gotten to it!


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I asked for this one for my birthday last year because I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted it and so then I actually received it for my birthday…….and haven’t read it yet.


The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

After reading the first book “The Winner’s Curse” I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it after how much I was expecting not to enjoy it. So then after devouring the sequel as well I NEEDED to read the last book that was just released last year! And guess who still hasn’t finished that trilogy even after buying the last book? Me.


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This book was super, duper hyped last year and because of that plus the pretty cover and promise of unique mythology I was 100% sold. I saw it when I happened to visit a Barnes & Noble and instantly bought it and now it’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year still unread.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

This one hasn’t been a new release for a while but I found while reading a bunch of glowing reviews for it and having it recommended a ton. So I found it on Book Outlet and bought it straight away because I love twisted thrillers! I started reading it…..and then set it aside for some reason…..and it’s been sitting there waiting for me to return to it eventually.


The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

This book is the one I’ve had the longest on this list because back many, many years ago when I was binge reading the Percy Jackson series and finished it and was DYING for more! So I found the Heroes of Olympus series and bought the first book straight away…….it has been sitting on my old Nook Color for ages and honestly it probably won’t get read because I want physical copies now….awkward.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Do you have any of these on your TBR as well?

Did you buy any of these right away and haven’t read them yet either?

Do you buy books and let them sit for a long time?

What are some books you HAD to have and haven’t read yet?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

July TBR

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Right when I was thinking I was getting better about sticking to my TBRs my June TBR happened……. I am so sorry June TBR! However, I’m going to shoot a little lower this month in the hopes that I can actually not be a huge disappointment! Yay!

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Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)

This book is about a bunch of teens suffering from insomnia who signed up for an experiment to cure them. However, there’s a malfunction that sends them all into a shared dreamscape full of their worst nightmares.

So this honestly sounds a little bit like horror but also maybe thriller or sci-fi too? Kind of confusing but I’m currently reading this one and so far it’s pretty good!


Want by Cindy Pon

Want (Want, #1)

This book actually really wasn’t on my radar at all until I finally read the synopsis and saw all of the glowing reviews! It’s about a futuristic/dystopian society where the rich buy special suits to protect them from pollution and disease and Jason Zhou is going to do anything it takes to stop the corruption: including infiltrating the international Jin Corporation and destroying it from within.

Sounds badass, honestly!


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

I’m a little on the fence with this one because on the one hand I want to read it because PIRATES but also I don’t want to read it because I don’t want to be disappointed if the piracy doesn’t live up to my expectations. However, my library got a copy so here I am ready to see if it’s worth it!


Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Jonathon Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1

I’ve heard a lot about this graphic novel so I decided to pick it up at the library as well. It’s about a man and an android and how she turns out to be more than just a robot. Graphic novels go by pretty quickly so I figured why not?


Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike

I found this graphic novel when I was looking for more graphic novels to borrow from the library. It’s the origin story of Death’s daughter and it’s a bit of a western. Seems cool enough!


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek

This was the ONE book I really wanted to get to on last month’s TBR and didn’t but I WILL read it this month no matter what!


Then I’ll read this since I got it from the library as well but I also might not get time:

Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Broken Prince (The Royals, #2)

My library FINALLY got a copy of “Broken Prince” so I couldn’t help but pick it up, hopefully I will have time to get to it!

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Are any of these books on your TBR?

Have you read any of these, what did you think?

What are you planning on reading this month?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

June Wrap-Up

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June was a fantastic month for me! Honestly it’s been really amazing to see my blog being supported so much by all of you it blows my mind and I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of you!

It’s also pretty great that I managed to read so many books as well although I have to say my June TBR did NOT go as planned at all and I’m so sorry…..

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Hopefully I’ll stay a little more on track this month with my reading!

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Books Read This Month: 9

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. VaughanThe Hundredth Queen by Emily R. KingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManusThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 4 by Kieron GillenLost Boy by Christina HenryDare Me by Megan Abbott

Overall I had really mixed feelings about the books I read this month, it seemed I either really liked them or really disliked them. My favorite read would be “Lost Boy” and I really did not like “One of Us is Lying” and “Dare Me”.


Reviews Finished This Month:

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Tags & Memes Done This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Books Recently Added to My TBR

Top 5 Wednesday: Books for Ravenclaws!

The Goodreads Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2017 So Far! 

The New Disney Princess Book Tag


Other Posts Done This Month:

May Wrap -Up

June Releases I’m Excited For!

June TBR

Discussion Post: Physical ARCs vs E-Galleys

Books I Forget To Recommend

Discussion Post: Reviewing New Releases vs. Backlist Books


What I’m Currently Reading: 

The DisappearancesDreamfall (Dreamfall #1)

Currently enjoying “The Disappearances” a lot and hopefully will have a review up by Wednesday! Then I’ll be moving on to “Dreamfall” which sounds super amazing!

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How was your reading and blogging month this June?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, July?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Books I Forget To Recommend!

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These are just a few books that I feel like I don’t talk about enough on my blog but still enjoyed! They could use a little more love!

I will link up reviews if I have them!

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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This is the book I read the most recently on this list and I STILL feel like I don’t mention it enough! I absolutely loved Chupeco’s other book “The Girl From The Well” and so I was ecstatic when I got an ARC of “The Bone Witch” which is YA Fantasy, my favorite genre! This is a very dark fantasy story and I absolutely loved the writing style and world building, although the pacing could be slow at times.

You can read my full review of “The Bone Witch” here.


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

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A diverse and magical read that I feel doesn’t get enough love! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I loved the magic system as well as the family dynamic!

You can read my full review of “Labyrinth Lost” here.


Paper Princess by Erin Watt

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I loved this book so much I couldn’t express my love in a review quite yet, I’m probably going to do a mini review here sometime. This was extremely addictive and kept me turning pages, it’s a very “trashy” novel in the same way that soap operas are “trashy”. They definitely hold your attention with their drama!


Welcome To The Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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A YA horror book that has some great characters and is pretty fast paced, it reads exactly like your traditional slasher horror movie but with some unique twists. Definitely a great book for any YA horror lovers out there!

You can read my full review of “Welcome To The Dark House” here.


A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

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This book was a very unique blend of horror and thriller where a group of kids become trapped in an ancient underground palace in France. I don’t want to give too much away but this book will definitely get your adrenaline pumping!

You can read my full review of “A Drop of Night” here.


The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

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The magic system and world building in this book are FANTASTIC and so, so unique! Those two reasons alone are enough for me to recommend this book!

You can read my full review of “The Impostor Queen” here.


The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

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A historical fiction with monsters! Woohoo! Plus the Doctor is pretty swoon-worthy and the monsters are actually pretty terrifying and gory. Definitely not a book for the squeamish or faint of heart!

You can read my full review of “The Monstrumologist” here.


Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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I did enjoy this book but still had a couple problems with it but Kate, the MC, is pretty badass! Plus there really aren’t enough YA western books and that cover is so gorgeous!

You can read my full review of “Vengeance Road” here.


The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

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This book definitely won’t be up everyone’s alley but I enjoyed it a lot, it’s about an insane(ly, funny) AI that took over the world and uses the world leader’s children as hostages to keep world peace. It’s awesome.

You can read my full review of “The Scorpion Rules” here.


Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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Do I need reasons to recommend any of Laini Taylor’s books? Her world building and mythology is flawless and her writing is so, so beautiful!

You can read my full review of “Lips Touch: Three Times” here.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Do you have any of these books on your TBR?

Do you have any books that you don’t recommend enough?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Discussion Post: Physical ARCs versus E-Galleys

Top Ten Tuesday(63)

I have been meaning to discuss in some way, shape, or form ARCs on my blog for some time, however, I just feel that I don’t have that much experience with them to properly do a post about them. That being said I’d just like to take the time to discuss with all of you, no matter your experience, physical ARCs and digital galleys.

This isn’t going to be a super in-depth discussion on my part about the pros and cons of each of these but to just kind of discuss everything about them in general depending on your experiences with ARCs as well!

I will be doing a full length post discussing ARCs and tips on how to receive them  at some point!

Of course everything I’ve written in this post is just my own opinion, I’m not trying to offend anyone by any means. Please keep that in mind while reading or commenting back! Thank you!

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What’s the big deal with physical ARCs?

Let’s face it: everyone wants physical ARCs. Don’t lie! Getting an advanced reader copy of any book in any form is awesome but as book lovers I feel a lot of us still covet those physical copies a bit more. Because they’re right there in your hands with their beautiful covers and their pure awesomeness!

Physical ARCs are a bit harder to obtain than e-galleys so getting one kind of makes you feel good about yourself and your blog, like you’re doing something right in order to have received one! It’s almost like getting a huge compliment!

However, like I said they are much harder to obtain and can therefore lead to a lot of disappointment as well and some publishers don’t offer e-galleys at all! Some publishers are easier to work with than others, some will send you ARCs and some won’t, some will email you back stating whether you’ve been approved or not and some won’t. This can get frustrating at times since most of us don’t know what we are doing wrong!

Personally, I have yet to receive any ARCs or even feedback from publishers or imprints of Penguin, Harper Collins, or Simon & Schuster. There’s also no real way of knowing what kind of stats they like to see in order to be considered either, at least not to my knowledge. If ANY OF YOU KNOW THE ANSWERS PLEASE TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!

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What’s wrong with just requesting e-galleys off of Netgalley or Edelweiss?

Nothing, absolutely nothing!

Netgalley is very easy to navigate and getting approved is fairly easy there, Edelweiss on the other hand is a little less user-friendly in my opinion and also a little harder to get approved on. But I digress…….

E-galleys are great for many reasons such as: they’re much easier to request and obtain, you get access to them a lot quicker, and there’s no adding to the clutter on your shelves!

However, one of the biggest drawbacks to e-galleys (at least in my opinion) is that if you request them on Netgalley you have a feedback ratio. Which I understand helps publishers to see if you actually read and review they galleys they give you but also it can hurt bloggers as well. Let’s say you’ve read and reviewed maybe 30 books on Netgalley and you’re always good about reading and reviewing the ARCs you request, well if you receive let’s say 4 or 5 ARCs your feedback ratio will immediately drop below the wanted 80% before you send feedback in. (PLEASE DON’T JUDGE MY MATH TOO BADLY, I’M TERRIBLE AT IT)

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It’s kind of a bummer! Some bloggers are more than capable of handling multiple ARCs but maybe won’t be approved for them because their feedback ratio is slightly below 80%. It’s just sort of annoying sometimes.

My slight irritation with this came from my experience last week emailing and requesting a few physical ARCs. I was told by the publisher that they would send me these if they could but that I should request them off of Netgalley which is problematic for two reasons: one being that if I request them off of Netgalley will I end up getting an e-galley and a physical ARC of one of them? You said you’d send them if you could but to also re-request them? Makes no sense to me.

And reason number two being that if I requested the 4 ARCs I wanted off of Netgalley and somehow got approved for them my feedback ratio will drop, potentially stopping me from getting approved for any other ARCs until I finish these. Which as we all know ARCs have different release dates, we are more than capable of reading and reviewing ARCs with differing release dates.

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Join The Discussion!

What are some of your experiences with physical ARCs or e-galleys?

Do you prefer one over the other? Why?

Do you find it easier to obtain physical copies or e-copies?

What do you think of Netgalley’s feedback ratio?

Are there any pros or cons to either that I didn’t list?

Do you have trouble requesting or being approved for physical ARCs?

Are there any publishers you find easier to work with?

Do you know the answers to the SECRETS I mentioned above? (If so I’d appreciate it!)

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy