#ARCApocalypse Update: August 2020 (introducing a new monthly challenge!)

August 10, 2020

Time for another ARC update! For my 2020 #ARCApocalypse info and TBR, check here!

Sadly, July was much like June in that I hauled too many titles before getting ahead of them, and then had to play catch-up later in the month! Thankfully, though, most of my ARC hauls this month were super quick reads like manga.

I also decided to add a new “try a chapter challenge” section to this monthly post! Each month while writing up this post, I’ll try the first chapter of 5-10 review copies and determine which ones I want to continue, which ones I’m no longer interested in, and pick ONE to read before the next #ARCApocalypse update post!

If you’re participating in ARC Apocalypse, feel free to copy this post format if you like it! ?

✨ ARC ban rules ✨

1. I must read AT LEAST 1 more title than I haul every month
2. if a book wasn’t already an anticipated release, it goes on a “wishlist” for 7+ days first
3. I have to check kindle unlimited before hauling indie titles

✨ last month’s ARC hauls ✨

  1. Body Talk
  2. Kushiel’s Dart
  3. The Project
  4. Witchcraft Cocktails
  5. A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation, Vol. 1
  6. There Are Things I Can’t Tell You
  7. The Switch
  8. Fangs
  9. The Complete Grimoire
  10. Dustborn
  11. Crossroads
  12. Architects of Memory (UNSOLICITED)
  13. Daphne Byrne
  14. Remote Control
  15. Kingdom of the Wicked
  16. The Infinity Courts
  17. Wicked as Sin
  18. The Voting Booth
  19. Empire of Wild
  20. This is My America
  21. When No One is Watching

✨ last month’s ARC completions ✨

  1. Burn Our Bodies Down ★★★★★
  2. Girl, Serpent, Thorn ★★★★★ (REVIEW)
  3. Witchcraft Cocktails ★★★★★
  4. There Are Things I Can’t Tell You ★★★★★
  5. Beach Read ★★★★★ (REVIEW)
  6. A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation, Vol. 1 ★★★★☆
  7. Fangs ★★★★☆
  8. The Complete Grimoire ★★★★☆
  9. Crossroads ★★★★★ (REVIEW)
  10. Across the Green Grass Fields ★★★★★
  11. The Wives ★☆☆☆☆ (REVIEW)
  12. Llewellyn’s Little Book of Moon Spells ★★★★☆
  13. Daphne Byrne ★★☆☆☆
  14. The Green Witch’s Grimoire ★★★★★
  15. The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales ★★☆☆☆
  16. Guest ❌ (DNF)
  17. Wicked as Sin ❌ (DNF)
  18. The Voting Booth ★★★★★
  19. Perihelion Summer ❌ (DNF)
  20. Song for a Whale ❌ (DNF)
  21. Pet ★★★★★
  22. The List of Things That Will Not Change (no rating)

✨ ARC wishlist ✨

(These are the titles I’m considering requesting/accepting this month!)

  1. The Bone Shard Daughter
  2. Spoiler Alert
  3. Beyond the Ruby Veil
  4. The Fourth Island
  5. Plain Bad Heroines
  6. Instant Karma
  7. The Factory Witches of Lowell
  8. First, Become Ashes

netgalley ratio:

feedback ratio: 70%

2020 & 2021 ARC numbers:

57 unreleased + 99 released & unread = 156 to be read/reviewed

unread ARCs releasing this month:

  1. Court of Lions
  2. The Dark Tide
  3. Star Daughter
  4. It Will Just Be Us
  5. Drowned Country
  6. Body Talk
  7. The Switch
  8. Thirteens
  9. Where Dreams Descend
  10. Harrow Lake
  11. Clown in a Cornfield
  12. Would I Lie to the Duke
  13. Architects of Memory

✨ ARC try a chapter challenge ✨

This month, I decided to sample 10 ARCs that all came out before 2020.

The Silence — Tim Lebbon

This has such a promising start! It alternates POVs between our main character (a deaf teenage girl named Ally) and Huw (her sometimes-absent but very committed and loving father), and it picks up right at the beginning of the action when the monsters of the story reveal themselves. I was instantly hooked.

A Conspiracy of Stars — Olivia A. Cole

I very quickly decided I did not enjoy the narrative voice in this story at all, plus it’s a plot that I had to look up because I had forgotten it entirely, and I don’t even remember why I requested the eARC because it sounds nothing like something I’d be into. I’m thinking maybe it was a cover splurge.

Terminal — Michaelbrent Collings

I’ve heard quite a few of my friends rave about this author and he has some very cool plots, including this one, which sold me because it’s horror with a “game” element, which I LOVE. Sadly, I wasn’t enjoying the characters or writing in the first couple of chapters. I went to Goodreads to look at some reviews because I was so torn on my verdict, but ended up accidentally spoiling myself for the ending and decided I wasn’t interested in how it would all play out, anyways.

Honor Among Thieves — Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

I remember requesting this when I was in a mood for some good AI characters, but nothing about this storyline was catching me. The writing was fine, but I also took issue with two non-Black authors writing yet another Black MC who’s “edgy” and “a bad girl” and “from the bad part of town”. It’s tired.

Wild Hunger — Chloe Neill

** UNSOLICITED ** I didn’t request this, nor would I have, because it’s book 1 in a spin-off series and I like to start with the originals whenever possible. I decided to give it a try anyways, but quickly felt like this isn’t a good starting point for this multiverse. I may eventually check out the original series, but it isn’t high on my priority list.

Uncharted — Erin Cashman

** UNSOLICITED ** — Literally nothing about this book interested me, but I kept it on my list in case I wanted to try it eventually. I honestly only got 3 pages in before giving up because I reminded myself that, if a book just doesn’t sound appealing to me at all and I didn’t request it to begin with, I don’t owe the publisher a review. :/

Freedom Trials — Meredith Tate

** UNSOLICITED ** — I love books involving games/trials/etc. so I wanted to try this, but this book came about 10 years too late for me. The villains feel so instantaneously outlandish and mustache-twirling and the entire plot of why these kids are in this rehab/prison/whatever is so over-the-top and cliche that I didn’t even try going past the first chapter.

The Stars May Rise and Fall — Estella Mirai

I was so excited for a queer romance story centering J-rock stars, and still feel like it should be everything I want… but this felt super meh and weird from the start, and also, who the hell follows some random stranger’s directions like this? I had a split second where I wondered if I was wrong and this was actually a horror or thriller story.

The Smoke — Simon Ings

I would never have accepted this ARC when it was offered if I had known at the time that it would be written in 2nd-person present tense.

Call it What You Want — Brigid Kemmerer

I was so excited when I got this ARC that I’ve been wondering why I hadn’t read it yet, and forgot until I picked it up earlier today that I had sampled the first few chapters of this once before and was immediately infuriated by the way one of the side characters is discussed. One of the MCs has a father who is severely disabled due to a failed suicide attempt, and the way it’s talked about in the beginning of the book honestly makes me queasy. Between how uncomfortable I was over it, the issues I had with another of her contemporary books, and how much I hated A Heart So Fierce and Broken, I think it’s officially time to call it quits on my relationship with this author.

So, the bad news is that I kicked 9/10 of my picks off of my ARC TBR… or is it good news? ??‍♀️

I only have one book to choose from as my “read before next month’s ARC Apocalypse” update. Luckily, I was so hooked on the beginning of The Silence that I actually do want to read it ASAP!


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. Holy ARC! There are so many. How did you even manage to organize them.
      The cover for Daphne Byrne looks horrifying. It scared me hah!
      Are all of these from NetGalley? I didnt know we could remove them! Are there any like, consequences to not reading an arc once you’ve gotten it? I’ve never not read an arc on NetGalley once I picked it. Even if I didnt like it (just pushed through) because I was afraid of not be able to get arcs anymore. But if thats not an issue than thats really nice.

      1. Haha I keep VERY tidy spreadsheets! I have to, really. I have ADHD and if I don’t keep careful notes on everything, I end up misplacing things, forgetting, etc. Haha I’m sorry the Daphne Byrne cover scared you! And yes, most of them are from NetGalley! There are not usually any consequences. Maybe if you constantly DNFed or removed books from the same publisher over and over, but they’re generally VERY understanding! There is an option to skip giving feedback, but I don’t recommend that because it messes with your feedback ratio. Instead, I recommend giving a reason you removed it, DNFed it, are no longer interested, etc., and then I usually give a standard 3-star rating with my reasoning – that way I’m not “punishing” the book with a 1-star rating but I’m also not unfairly giving it 5. I hope this helps!!

        1. Thank you! Yes this was extremely helpful! There have been books that were incredibly hard to get through but I pushed and ended up with at least three stars as well. Not to mention a very mediocre review. It’s really a relief to know that its OK to DNF it if it comes to that without major consequences. Or even to not review it if it feels like a two – one star. With explanation of course. Ya it makes sense though if you do it constantly form the same publisher. They might decide to just stop approving you.
          Spread sheets! One of the best ways to stay organized. I’m the same way as you, if I don’t write it down somewhere (spreadsheet, note book, notes on my phone) I will certainly forget! Hah!

    1. Ooh looking good! Reading just one more then you hauled haha!
      I can’t wait for Where dreams descend releases!
      I would say it is a good thing you kicked out 9.. I mean if they don’t interest you, you’re probably not going to give it a good/positive review anyway..


      1. Thank you! haha I haven’t officially announced this because I’m worried it’s too lofty of a goal since I am SO bad about over-requesting, but I’m hoping that for August, I can read 5 or more ARCs more than I hauled. I feel like, that way, my number of unread ARCs would always be dropping by at least 5 per month!!

        Yeah, that’s a very good point! I didn’t think about it like that. Me not reviewing it at all is probably better in the publisher’s or author’s eyes than me giving it a negative review. ?

        1. Ooh I hope you will be able to do that! But don’t stress yourself out! Reading should still be fun 🙂

    1. Wow, well that knocked off quite a bunch ? making things easier, here!

      A few of thoses does looks good; can’t wait to see how you’d like them!

      1. Hahahah that’s the goal! No, really, I almost feel bad removing ARCs without reading at least half of them, but I’ve finally just started to look at it like, 1) if I feel burdened to read something I don’t want to read, I imagine I won’t give it a very good chance anyways, and 2) if I’ve had the ARC 2 years or whatever, the publisher probably isn’t expecting a review from me anymore… ?

        1. That’s right! Both of thoses two are good reminders. But I also understand why you’d feel that way

      1. Thank you!! I liked it so much, I’m already working on trying chapters for the September post haha. I’m tempted to sample, like, 20, but I’m trying to tell myself no. ?

    1. love the addition of trying a chapter! i think it’s fun to see your first impressions of them. congrats that you were able to knock so many off, even though it’s also a bit of a bummer!

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