State of the ARC: December 2021

ate 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.

I haven’t done one of these for a while. I spent most of November getting through a flock of ARCs, because I had no shelf control when it came to requesting autumnal ARCs over the summer. So when I finally got through all that I breathed a sigh of relief and stayed off NetGalley for a while.

But I’ve gone back a few times now and requested a few things. I’m still waiting to hear back out one book, Tor rejected me (again, I don’t know why I bother, they’ve never approved a digital ARC request), but I quickly received approvals for three other titles slated to come out in Spring 2022.

Wild and Wicked Things
by Francesca May
expected publication date: March 29

It’s rumored that magic- real magic- is present on Crow Island. But Annie Mason wants nothing to do with that. She’s only there to settle her late father’s estate and try to reconnect with her best friend Beatrice, who left Annie’s prosaic world behind for the glitz and glamour of Crow Island. But there is plenty of temptation on the island, and Annie’s infamous new neighbor, Emmeline Delacroix, may be the greatest temptation of all. After she witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of Emmeline’s notorious parties, Annie is drawn into a haunted world of magic and glamour where illicit magic could mean your death.

Fierce Poison (Barker and Llewellyn #13)
by Will Thomas
Historical Mystery
Expected publication date: April 12

Barker and Llewellyn have encountered many strange things in their investigations, but they have never had a client drop dead in their office. But after Roland Fitzhugh, a Member of Parliament, arrives to consult with Barker on a case, he collapses and dies, the victim of poisoning. After a family in the East End dies of the same cause, Barker and Llewellyn realize that a poisoner is on the loose– and he’s targeting them. On the run from an unknown assailant, and with their loved ones in the crosshairs, the two must connect disparate clues to find the poisoner before they become victims, too.

What the Ermine Saw: The Extraordinary Journey of Leonardo Da Vincis Most Mysterious Portrait
by Eden Collinsworth
Expected publication date: May 10

Five hundred years ago, Cecilia Gallerani, the teenage mistress of the Duke of Milan, sat for a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci. In the portrait, she holds a white ermine, the symbol of pregnancy and childbirth. The fierce Duke, Ludovico Sforza, wanted more than just a pretty picture of his beautiful mistress. He wanted a painting that reflected his wealth and power, too. With his skill and genius, Leonardo da Vinci did just that, and changed the nature and purpose of portrait painting thereafter. Despite the painting’s contemporary fame and importance, it disappeared from the record for two hundred years before reappearing. Eden Collinsworth investigates the painting’s dramatic history and sometimes miraculous survival into the twenty-first century.

Having only a few ARCs on my plate is much more manageable for me. While it’s fun to have a bunch of upcoming releases available, it can also make reading less fun, as there is a definite deadline I’m working against, and I feel like I need to finish them all, even if I don’t like them. I’ve gotten much better about DNF’ing ARCs I’m not enjoying in 2021, but I’d like to prevent that in general. So I’m going to do a little more research about the books I request before I request them because it’s not fun to get an approval, and then find out that it’s a poorly-written, 650-page monstrosity.

I requested Wild and Wicked Things because it just sounds so interesting. Fierce Poison is the next installment in my favorite murder mystery series, so I know I’m going to enjoy it. And da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine is one of my favorite paintings ever, so of course I want to find out more about it.

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