State of the ARC: July 2020

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books (temporarily hosted at All The Book Blog Names Are Taken) meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies). You can track your reading progress and link up with your own post.


Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

A new reading challenge! I decided to start participating in State of the ARC because I have been so bad about actually reading my ARCs recently. Maybe if I turn it into a challenge, I’ll actually do it!

Ideally, I would like to get (at least!) one of my overdue ARCs read and read the two with upcoming publication dates.

Overdue

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
published October 22, 2019

Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura
published March 3, 2020

44 Chapters About 4 Men by B.B. Easton
published April 7, 2020

Publishing Soon

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune
expected publication: July 14, 2020

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
expected publication: July 28, 2020

No Rush

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman
expected publication: September 1, 2020

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
expected publication: October 6, 2020


Have you read any of these books? How well have you been doing with reading ARCs? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • nothing this week!

1 thing this week:

  • Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone who’s celebrating is staying safe and healthy! ❤

Song of the week:


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Let’s Talk About: My favorite books of 2020 (so far!)

I think we can all agree that 2020, as a whole, has been awful. Between the pandemic, the rampant racism, and the natural disasters, this year is definitely one for the history books. And it’s only half done.

But on the other hand, 2020 is halfway over! And with the halfway mark, I thought I’d focus on a happy topic and talk about all my five-star ratings so far this year!


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

(my review is coming)

In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor’s seminal essay “The Meaning of a Word.”

Slay by Brittney Morris

my review

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Heartstopper (series) by Alice Oseman

my reviews: vol. one | vol. two | vol. three

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

my review

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. 

All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance that could not be explained – until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood, to Washington, and beyond. 

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability and silence victims of abuse – and it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power – and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.

Check, Please! (series) by Ngozi Ukazu

my reviews: book one | book two

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker & Carol Leonnig

my review

Rucker and Leonnig have deep and unmatched sources throughout Washington, D.C., and for the past three years have chronicled in depth the ways President Donald Trump has reinvented the presidency in his own image, shaken foreign alliances and tested American institutions. It would be all too easy to mistake Trump’s first term for pure chaos. But Leonnig and Rucker show that in fact there is a pattern and meaning to the daily disorder. Relying on scores of exclusive new interviews with first-hand witnesses and rigorous original reporting, the authors reveal the 45th President up close as he stares down impeachment. They take readers inside Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and the Trump legal team’s scramble for survival, behind the curtains as the West Wing scurries to clean up the President’s mistakes and into the room to witness Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders and members of his Cabinet, and assess the consequences.

Spinning by Tillie Walden

my review

Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.

Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.

She was good. She won. And she hated it.

For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point? The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion–and she finally needed to find her own voice.

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

my review

Jessica tells of growing up in 1980s Texas where she was sexually abused by the daughter of a family friend, and of unsuccessfully auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club at age 13 with Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling before going on to sign a record deal with Columbia and marrying 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey.

Along the way, she details the struggles in her life, such as the pressure to support her family as a teenager, divorcing Lachey, enduring what she describes as an emotionally abusive relationship with musician John Mayer, being body-shamed in an overly appearance-centered industry, and going through bouts of heavy drinking. But Simpson ends on a positive note, discussing her billion-dollar apparel line and marriage with professional football star Eric Johnson, with whom she has three children. 


Have you read any of these books? What are some of the best books you’ve read so far in 2020?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2020

302 of 368 pages288 pages336 pages185 pages (🎧)
★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆
325 pages (🎧)288 pages (🎧)304 pages (🎧)257 pages (🎧)
★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆
323 pages (🎧)381 pages (🎧)30 of 100 pages160 pages
★★★★★★★★★☆★★★☆☆
248 pages (🎧)204 pages 176 pages (🎧)400 pages
★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★★
592 pages (🎧)533 pages 336 pages (🎧)
★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★☆☆☆

Total pages: 5,668
Total books: 17 full + 2 partial
Average rating: 3.83 stars

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

June’s theme was name or number, and I ended up reading two books with a name in the title (and none with a number):

I finished a total of 18 books in June, for a total of 104 so far in 2020!

The Audiobook Challenge is hosted by Hot Listens & Caffeinated Reviewer.

In May, I updated my audiobook goal to 100 for the year. In June, I listened to 11. I’m now at 61 total for the year!

(The 🎧 on my page count shows all my audiobook listens.)


How did June go for you? Are you doing any reading challenges? Let’s talk in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking on a World of Words and just involves answering the 3 Ws!


What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Did you do your own WWW Wednesday post today? Let’s talk in the comments!

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