State of the ARC, February 2019


State of the ARC is a meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books in which we round up our ARCs and attempt to wrangle them into something approaching order. Sometimes it’s like herding cats.


The first half of February marked a lull in my NetGalley activity. I had finished up my reviews for the books published in January and had just one ARC left, A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn, which comes out on March 12. I’d requested just one ARC in January, and after the request went unanswered for over a month, I thought I’d been declined. So I requested two more ARCs from St. Martin’s Press which were approved within two days, and within a few days after that, the previous ARC was approved, too. So now I have four ARCs on the docket.




Not too many books right now, and I’ll be able to get through them without too much trouble since their publications dates are far enough apart that I won’t be rushed to read them. They all look terribly interesting, but I’m the most interested in Wayfinding, since I often have a terrible sense of direction (particularly when driving), and so I want to find out how people have navigated across land and water without modern GPS.

A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth entry in one of my favorite mystery series. It’s set in late Victorian England and stars the clever and outlandish heroine, Veronica Speedwell and her brooding counterpart, Stoker Templeton-Vane. Half the fun of these books is the banter between the two, and I have yet to suss out the guilty parties before Veronica does, which makes the mystery that much more intriguing.

The Bird King is a historical fantasy novel set during the last days of the sultanate in the Iberian peninsula. The sultan’s last Circassian concubine, Fatima, and her friend, the palace mapmaker Hassan, must navigate the end of their world as they know it when representatives from Christian Spain come to negotiate the sultan’s surrender. Hassan has the ability to draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend reality, which can be seen as a sorcerous threat to the Christian rulers. To escape death or imprisonment, Fatima and Hassan must flee the palace and make their way through a land that has become hostile to them.

Wicked Saints has received a fair amount of hype so far this year, though it’s not due until the beginning of April. It is a gothic fantasy story about a girl who can speak to the gods, a prince in danger, and a boy with a monstrous secret. Their paths intertwine in a land on the brink of war, and the only way to stop the war is to kill a king.

10 thoughts on “State of the ARC, February 2019

  1. I’m learning more and more about blogging meme’s everyday it seems like. I have a few ARCs I am excited about but with my current read (Roots) a lot of want to reads are taking a back seat. I’m always curious how others manage ARCs with their own books they have on the TBR. As I’m writing this comment I just had an idea I remember seeing on Instagram/bookstagram so I need to give that a try.

  2. The first year I started Grab the Lapels, authors had sent me enough books to last another year. Oof! I’m connected to the small press community, so these are booksellers that would love a review. I had to close my submissions and spent a couple of years catching up 😬

  3. I started Grab the Lapels 3 years after I finished an MFA program in creative writing. Part of the program was connecting with authors and small presses, so I used to have hundreds of people on Facebook who all wanted me to read something. I just read so many not great books and so many that were highly experimental that I started to get worn out on it.

  4. Can’t blame you for that! Reading that many mediocre books would get old in a hurry. That’s part of why I don’t request that many ARCs from NetGalley. I don’t want to feel obligated to read something that I don’t like. It’s only happened once, and I think I’m extra salty about that book since I got it free for review and so felt like I had to finish it.

  5. I think that’s a challenge that many book bloggers face right away. I’ve heard a number of people say they feel like a nobody, so getting free books is an obligation because they should be grateful for that e-book the publisher sent along.

  6. I’ve actually never received an unrequested book from a publisher in 2+ years of serious blogging. I only started requesting from NetGalley last summer, and have only gotten ebooks as ARCs. I always wonder how people get these beautiful physical copies of anticipated books.

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