Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review | Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon + Giveaway

Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Second Chance #1
Published by 
Publish Date: January 27, 2015
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Evan Downey needs a new beginning. Since the death of his wife five years ago, the brilliant tattoo artist has shut himself away in a prison of grief that not even his work can break him out of-and what's worse, Evan knows his son Lyon is bearing the brunt of his seclusion. Moving back to the lake town of Evergreen Cove where he spent his childhood summers is his last chance for a fresh start. 

Charlotte Harris knows she owes it to her best friend's memory to help Evan and his son find their way again, but she can't stop her traitorous heart from skipping a beat every time she looks into Evan's mesmerizing eyes. Charlotte is determined to stay strictly in the Friend Zone-until a mind-blowing night knocks that plan by the wayside. Now, if they're brave enough to let it, Charlotte and Evan might just find a love capable of healing their broken hearts . . . (Goodreads) 
Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

My Thoughts:  I think it's so fun that I chose to read this book because 1) I'm sometimes wary of the mysterious "bad boy" with tattoos and 2) this cover looks like exactly that type of character. HOWEVER, HOWEVER this character is not that way at all, not mysterious or broody or angsty, and it made me very happy that I decided to read this book because I feel like people need to know this! Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon is a really wonderful second-chance romance. 

Evan Downey is an artist - a painter, a book illustrator, and a tattoo artist. He also sports plenty of tattoos of his own. He has the messy-hair, dark t-shirt, great-looking jeans vibe going on and his best friend is a rock star. SO! I can see where the cover of the book comes from. BUT OH OH, see, Evan is anything but a bad boy. He's actually a very good boy. 

The book opens with Evan packing his young son up to move away. They need a fresh start in Evergreen Cove, somewhere familiar and comfortable for them, and it doesn't hurt that they'll be closer "Aunt Charlie." Charlie was his wife's best friend and is the closest family that young Lyon knows except Charlie isn't really Lyon's aunt by blood; she and Evan's first wife Rae were not actually sisters. But they were incredibly close. When Rae unexpectedly died a few years ago, it devastated them all. Evan is hoping that this move will give Lyon a better sense of family - being closer to Charlie - and he is also hoping for some closure for himself because he just has to get out of the house where Rae died unexpectedly. 

Evan is not expecting to fall for Charlie. But, man, he really wants to see where their relationship goes. 

It's true that Charlie had a crush on Evan even back when they were all young, but when he chose Rae, she respected that decision and never crossed any lines. NOW THOUGH, with Evan and Lyon living just a couple of houses down from her, it's difficult to keep all of her feelings buried under the surface. Evan always smells great, he always looks fantastic, and it's so awesome to see him interacting with his son the way that he does. Plus, it's really sexy to watch him make his art. 

Charlie's biggest problem is the guilt she feels in admitting her feelings for her best friend's husband. 


I could never even begin to imagine what kind of guilt and stress and strain the death of somebody-you-both-love would put on a relationship like it did between Evan and Charlie. Here we have two people that were friends years ago, even into adulthood - but that friendship had a respectable boundary, which was very well-written. This was all before the book began but it was a palpable respect that I could feel throughout the story. Rae, Evan's now-deceased wife, is a character that is never alive while the story is taking place (her character dies before the book begins), but she is written well enough that I felt her at the most appropriate times, which meant that the respect that Evan and Charlie had for one another because of Rae was very well-placed. It also meant that once the two began to admit that they had feelings toward each other, there was a depth of emotion present that is extra for an adult contemporary romance like this one. It was not too heavy, but it was just a little something there, and I think this was because of the second-chance romance thing. 

Evan is called the "bad boy" in the title, but I genuinely feel like he is a great guy. First and foremost, he is a great father. He is smitten with his child, parenting him to the best of his ability, ALSO recognizing that he's doing it alone, without the assistance of a mother for his son. I loved this show of vulnerability and the way he never hesitated to ask Charlie for help. Evan placed himself geographically closer to Charlie because she had a vested interest in the boy's life and because she wanted to help raise him; in doing so he ended up feeling things toward this woman. And this is okay, you see. It's been years since Evan's wife died - he realizes that he needs to move on. He wants to. Charlie helps with this without even realizing it. Evan is thrilled that he is able to feel things again for another woman, and he is thrilled that it is Charlie because they have so many shared interests - his son, their grief, a love for art, several other things. They are helping each other work through the grief process when it rises. But Evan is a man just like any other man, ya know? He is ready for a relationship. 

And Charlie...oh, Charlie. She had a relationship before - it wasn't a great one. The guy ended up breaking her heart for not-great reasons, which left Charlie with baggage. So not only is she carrying unwarranted baggage, but she's got this huge amount of guilt over feeling things for Evan, for wanting to be with him. Charlie has to work though this and IT. TAKES. FOREVER., which drove Evan crazy at times (and me too, doggone it!). Despite wanting to reach through the book to squish Charlie into Evan's face so he can kiss her senseless, I love these two together and love their happy ever after and YAY FOR SECOND CHANCES, they make life and reading so much fun. 

This book introduces some fun secondary characters that I'm having a fit to know more about, A ROYAL FIT. And I love the small-town feeling that I'm getting from Evergreen Cove - it feels like a vacation destination even though these characters actually live there, at least some of them do! The second book in this series is coming out in May and features one of these fun characters, but there are several that I want to know more about as soon as possible. SEVERAL. I hope some of them get a book of their own, wink wink Gloria and Asher. Ahem. 

I'm excited about this book and I love that this is the Second Chance Series because I LOVE these types of stories. I recommend Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon to fans of small-town romance stories, fans of second-chance romances, and fans of happy ever afters. 


Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the 
tour-wide giveaway hosted by 
Author Jessica Lemmon and Forever Romance! 

*One winner will win a collection of books by Jessica Lemmon
*Ten winners will win a print copy of Bringing Home The Bad Boy

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bringing Home the Bad Boy will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. Second chance romance.
Happy ever after! 

Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon 
is currently available for purchase.


Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.) 

Find Jessica Lemmon:  Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Website 


Second Chance Series: 


Monday, January 26, 2015

Review | For Keeps by Rachel Lacey + Giveaway

For Keeps by Rachel Lacey
Series: Love to the Rescue #2
Published by 
Publish Date: January 27, 2015
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue - even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It's hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children's camp where she's just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Merry's style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay.

TJ Jameson isn't looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family's ranch with a wife and kids. "No-strings" Merry Atwater doesn't fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ's a goner. If he doesn't give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .
For Keeps by Rachel Lacey

My Thoughts:  For Keeps is the second book in the Love to the Rescue Series by Rachel Lacey. I read this one on the heels of Unleashed, which is the first book in the series. (Here's my review.) I have to admit that while I'm not the type of person that normally goes crazy over pets, I'm head-over-heels over this series and I love the way dogs and other animals play into these stories. 

Merry Atwater is a full-time nurse who also founded the Triangle Boxer Rescue right after finishing nursing school a few years ago. She loves dogs - rescuing them, fostering them, helping them find adoptive families. This makes her so happy! It's hard work, but good work, but lately the Rescue has taken a huge financial hit. A very supportive anonymous donor has recently stopped sending their generous donations, and this has been a big blow to the Rescue's accounts. As a result, Merry has been using her own personal accounts to pay for everything, and running an organization like this is extremely expensive - she has to stop. Merry is stressed! This Rescue means life and death for these dogs! Also, how could she have let herself depend so heavily on an anonymous donation like that? She should have been more forward-thinking! Merry needs a plan and now

Suddenly a solution falls into Merry's lap, albeit a temporary one: local veterinarian T.J. Jameson runs a summer camp for special needs children with horses. Equine therapy, so cool! This year, he wants to add specially-trained dogs to the camp and he's reached out to Merry. In exchange for a nice donation to her Rescue, he has asked Merry to donate her time and a few dogs to the camp. This is a large commitment but it can help Merry pay some of the Rescue's expenses for at least a little while...except when she meets T.J., his ideas for what he wants are not the same things that Merry is willing to provide -- and neither seem to want to compromise. 

Well, neither are initially willing to compromise. It doesn't take very long for THAT to change...


For Keeps by Rachel Lacey is SUCH a cute story! Merry and T.J. have a chemistry that is so present and obvious, and one of the things I loved about these two was that they acknowledged it right away instead of refusing to admit it, dancing around it like some couples do sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a slow burn, but I like when people admit there is an attraction too. HOWEVER, even though the attraction is obvious, Merry and T.J. take a while to agree on exactly what they want in terms of a romantic relationship. Is a future even possible for them?  

Here are some THINGS about For Keeps that I love

1. T.J. Jameson is a veterinarian, and Merry thinks that's charming. She loves his farm/ranch but when she finds out that he rescues horse - like she does with dogs - it elevates her feelings for him by WELL, A WHOLE LOT. Because, see, here this means that what they have in common, a love for animals, is deeper than Merry realized. Maybe Merry judged T.J. a little bit prematurely when she made assumptions about his cowboy-ness, his big truck, his extreme hesitance to foster one of her dogs... 

2. T.J. is also uncle to an autistic boy, Noah. He's a FANTASTIC uncle. Noah is the primary reason T.J. hosts his summer camp. Merry loves watching his interaction with Noah, and T.J. loves watching Merry interact with his nephew. Heck, T.J. may even be a little bit jealous of how well Noah responds to Merry BUT he tries to remember that she is a pediatric nurse so she does have some experience in working with kids. If only this camp could be successful at helping Noah to interact more, become more verbal, and be more social! Merry's dogs seem to be just about the only thing Noah responds to...

3. Merry has a THING from her past that comes up while the two are developing their relationship - I've seen and read before where this THING sends a man running away fast, fast, fast. BUT! Here, it doesn't even make T.J. flinch and I kind of loved that about him. Merry does too. 

4. Merry's nursing job, her work with the Rescue, and her work with the summer camp are all connected - this shows the type of person Merry is even though she is determined that she doesn't want to get married and have a family (while T.J. does - here's our romantic tension!). T.J. watches her, and puts bits and pieces of her life together over the course of the month-long camp, and he falls for her as he sees who she really is through all of these pieces of her life. 

5. Both Merry and T.J. have fears and vulnerabilities. Both of their fears and vulnerabilities come out in the story, and both are dealt with. I love how both can depend on the other one to help with these challenges, and there is no judgment given. This is really special.

You know how many romance have that 'falling-out thing' that happens about about three-quarters into the story, the thing that causes the big issue that must be resolved before the happy ending? Well, there is a little bit of that, but it didn't feel like such a big thing because Merry and T.J. were so good for each other from the beginning. There is some dramatic tension, but it is quickly resolved, and the happy ending does come. There is plenty of depth to this story, and this was a nice change for me. 

Two books into the Love to the Rescue Series, and I'm all in! I love the way the series is set up, I love the characters, I love the North Carolina setting. I hope Merry's friend Olivia, who plays a nice role in the summer camp as an assistant to Merry, will have her own book because she seems to have some shenanigans of her own going on and I'd love to find out more about her! I recommend this series to fans of small town romances with happy endings, fans of companion stories, and fans of stories that feature animals because the dogs play a nice, big role in the romances in these books. 

Click below to win a collection of books by Rachel Lacey! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


For Keeps will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle!
Great setting: North Carolina
Dog-lovers & Horse-lovers will love this one!

For Keeps by Rachel Lacey 
is currently available for purchase.


Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter. 

Find Rachel Lacey:  Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Website 


Love to the Rescue Series: 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Review | Unleashed by Rachel Lacey

Unleashed by Rachel Lacey
Series: Love to the Rescue #1
Published by 
Publish Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Bought
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?

Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it's not because of all the foster dogs she's rescued. She's got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don't get attached. It's served her well with the dogs she's given to good homes and the children she's nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt's sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn't need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he'd never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there's no way he can start a relationship just as he's about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they'll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go...  (Goodreads) 
Unleashed by Rachel Lacey

My Thoughts:  Cara Medlen is a cancer survivor with no plans to live life to the fullest until she's safely 10-years cancer-free. Despite being wildly talented and in love with photography, she postponed her dream of being a full-time photographer and instead took a nannying job. She has also pushed aside romantic attachment with basically anyone for fear of breaking her own or another heart if the cancer were to come back. Cara's plans get shaken and stirred when she gets tangled up with her next door neighbor, Matt Dumont. They meet when Matt comes to her door, curious about the relationship she keeps with her dogs.  

Cara is passionate about rescuing dogs. She fosters dogs at her townhome, helping to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society after abandonment, mistreatment, bouts of illness, etc - then Cara sends them to permanent homes. By fostering instead of adopting these dogs, Cara is able to give and feel love, yet prevent becoming attached -- this totally fits with her 10-year plan PLUS it helps to fills the void of not having a romantic relationship. Cara is incredibly offended and downright angry when Matt assumes that she is pushing her dogs to fight and when he mentions their unhealthy state and unkempt appearance! She promptly and with a FIERY attitude tells him about how she fosters the dogs...they ALL have an adjustment period when they first arrive, duh! and mind your own business...and then Matt pretty much shuts up because he realizes he was wrong to assume. BUT! OH NOW HE HAS A MASSIVE CRUSH ON THE LADY NEXT DOOR! 

After living next door to one another for something like a year already, both Cara and Matt had seen each other coming and going. They'd just never spoken. This couldn't be a worse time to develop a crush, really: Matt is moving out of state in just a few days! But now MY GOODNESS how he wants to stick around just a little longer...and then soon he's thinking of how he can pull Cara into his life, even if he does end up moving. Is that possible? Would she come with him? 

Matt doesn't know, see, because CARA HASN'T GIVEN HIM ALL OF THE INFORMATION ABOUT HER 10-YEAR RULE! She needs to talk to him, right? Of course. But Matt hasn't given up all of his backstory either - WE know why he's moving so quickly and WE know why he acts so much like he does, but Cara doesn't. These two are quite the pair and they have a tiny little hill to climb before they settle into their routine of happy-ever-after. Sure, they love spending time together, but it's almost like these two do not want to admit that they're falling for one another, like they're irritated with themselves for even letting it happen. They make me laugh (and want to squish them together).

Is there a happy ever after? YES, there is. It's great. 


I enjoyed the heck out of Unleashed by Rachel Lacey. I never considered that I would love a book that features dogs or pets so much, but I did! I fell hard for these animals and I understand a little more now why fictional Cara (and real life people) have the desire to help them like they do - as a person with no pets, I'd never given any thought to this. But this story isn't only about dogs - they're just part of what bring Cara and Matt together. 

Cara and Matt are quite the pair. Cara is so affected by her bout with cancer. Because of what she went through, she doesn't leap into anything. She seems to overanalyze everything. She is almost reserved in how she lives. Now, I can't speak to what that must feel like because I've not walked that path, but it seemed like it made Cara hold life at arm's length for much of the book - which is odd because even though she kept me at a distance, I still felt like I got to know her as a character. She has trouble connecting with LIFE, so she doesn't connect with many things or people at all...except one or two friends and her dogs. I GOT THIS. Until her handsome neighbor came over and just frazzled her to pieces! She didn't mean to fall for him - she tried so hard not to - but Matt really got under her skin, and I think this was SO GREAT for Cara because it changed her life. She began to live and be happy and it was so wonderful to read. 

Matt is a private investigator with a few trust issues that come from a real thing in his past. His tendency to be inquisitive is how he ends up at Cara's door in the first place. He isn't really snooping, he isn't really nosy. He has a reason for asking questions and being protective. He's smart, he thinks and acts quickly when crazy situations arise (and they do!), and he's an all around nice guy. Total gentleman. Matt IS leaving the neighborhood, and quickly, but he has a very valid reason for this - he doesn't really tell Cara WHY right away. This of course almost backfires on him, but quick-thinking Matt is smart and works everything out for the good. And romantic, yes. What a guy! 

Unleashed was an impulse buy for me because I found the author through her interaction on Twitter with some other authors that I love. AND starting this book was such a treat for me because within a few paragraphs, I discovered that the setting is RIGHT HERE, RIGHT HERE where I am! Well, almost right here where I am. (It's always fun to read a book that is set in a familiar place.) Cara's neighbors are not hip to the fact that she fosters dogs. In fact, the homeowner's association takes action against her, and this is a big portion of the plot that drives the story. EVEN BETTER than the setting are the underlying messages to the story: Live to the fullest. Love to the fullest. Make the most of your time on this earth. I think Matt helped Cara realize that her 10-year plan had worked for her for a while, but maybe it was time to ditch it so she could let her happy-ever-after in. 

I had the BEST time reading Unleashed by Rachel Lacey, and it's only days until the second book in this series is released. I highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy fun contemporary romances with happy endings, and readers that are dog-lovers. 


Unleashed will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. Slow-burn.
Great setting: North Carolina
Dog-lovers will love this one!

Unleashed by Rachel Lacey 
is currently available for purchase.


Love to the Rescue Series: 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review | Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton

Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton
Series: Boys Don't Knit #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: March 24, 2015
Source: Book - Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Knitting is a man’s game.

After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his bonehead friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) under the impression that it's taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to find that he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It even helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.  (Goodreads) 
Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton

My Thoughts:  The cover for this book is SO CHARMING, isn't it?

It took me almost no time at all to get sucked into the hilarious mind of 17-year-old Ben Fletcher as he tells this story through journal entries spanning eight months. After botching an attempt to steal some liquor, Ben finds himself in probation...with a couple of requirements. He has to keep a journal detailing his days (which he already does, no big deal) and he has to take an extracurricular-type class from the local community college. Ben is allowed to choose from four classes being offered; he ends up reluctantly choosing knitting because the choices aren't really that great, in his opinion. He's also required to do some community service for the chronically-unhappy Mrs. Frensham (she is part of the reason he's in probation anyway, mean old lady). Ben isn't thrilled about this part. 


Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton is a really funny book. I laughed out loud so many times while I was reading. While I'm sure much of this has to do with the author's witty writing, I feel like plenty of the fun comes from the fact that reading this book is basically reading the journal of an awkward teenage boy. Ben is a funny character anyway, but when you add a relatively normal teenager with an extremely quirky family and some off-the-wall friends, punishment for a pitifully-performed crime, and the fact that Ben wants to keep his knitting a secret because it's just not a very "manly" thing to do -- this is quite the set-up for shenanigans. 

Over the span of the book, Ben makes a great transition. He goes from being the soft-spoken pushover to someone solid in what he feels and the decisions he makes, someone who is unafraid to speak up. The Ben at the beginning of the book is mortified to be taking knitting, hiding it from everyone, but the Ben at the end of the book embraces his hobby and his talent for knitting. I loved reading about Ben going to class and learning a few things, then practicing, then realizing he was pretty decent at knitting, then realizing that he loved it -- to the point that he wanted to be knitting in his spare time and knitted to de-stress and relax. To be honest, I am not a knitter and know almost nothing about it, but Ben's enthusiasm for it while he was learning compensated for me not knowing some of what he was talking about. 

Boys Don't Knit has a fun secondary cast - Ben's mother is a magician and his soccer-obsessed father is a little rough around the edges. Ben's friends are the type of people that would probably make me roll my eyes in real life (because of their behavior), but they made me laugh in the book. (One of his friends is writing an erotic novel that he excitedly calls Fifty Shades of Graham.) Ben has a crush on a girl - this romance is sweet and this plot-line never overtakes the main plot, which I love because it demonstrates how important the knitting is to Ben at this point in his life. And I love that this book will appeal to both male and female readers, just like it makes the point that knitting can appeal to both male and female. 

I had the best time reading Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy laughing while reading. I would also recommend this book to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary stories with male protagonists and readers that enjoy English settings. 


Boys Don't Knit will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary
Romance: No triangle. There is a crush but it is not the main plot-line. 
Setting: England

Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton
will be available for purchase on March 24, 2015.


Doesn't this book sound fun? IT IS. 

Is this one on your to-read list? 

Don't miss my thoughts!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Manners | Like A Book Blogger

 photo likeabookbloggerbutton_zpsac9cba0b.jpg

[MANNERS] like a book blogger. 

A few days ago I talked about how I wanted to start a new, positive conversation in the blogosphere and I began by talking about finding our voices when we write online. I talked a little bit about my own writing voice and how I sometimes get a little flail-y and throw out allcaps when I get excited, and I talked about other ways to blog. Any writing style is great, as long as it is your own and you feel comfortable with it. Whenever anyone has a blog, I'm happy to see whatever creativity they bring to the table as long as they're blogging with integrity.  

Having my own piece of the internet is cool but with that comes some responsibility. I need to show good manners and "book blogger etiquette" - we all should. So I think today, I just want to briefly touch on a couple of points that can quickly get out of hand when we forget our manners. 

Two things that start drama in the Reading World as quick as anything are advanced copies and social media. 



Oh wow, if I could only emphasize how very little space advanced copies take up in terms of the giant spectrum that is the Reading World. I think it can be easy to forget that sometimes. Disclosure: It was a while after I began blogging before I received my first advanced copy of anything (it was digital), and it was longer still before I received a print copy of anything in advance. 
  • First and most importantly, I would still be a reader and blogger without advanced reading copies. I started without them and I do not need them to share my thoughts on books. I've had blogging friends that have never accepted them and I've had blogging friends that stopped taking them for periods of time here and there for various reasons. I do not have to have anything before publication date to be a book blogger. And my status as a book blogger is not at all defined by whether or not I will receive advanced copies or what my ARC:non-ARC review ratio is. THE END. 
  • ARC Envy is real and it is a mean, green monster. It happens to pretty much everyone and I'm doubtful I can be convinced otherwise. I think with the rise of the #bookmail #bookstagram #instabook #bookshimmy #whateverotherhashtagisused on Instagram, Twitter, and everywhere else IT'S EVEN HARDER. It's also difficult when people read and discuss books pre-publication out in the open - it feeds the beast. I'm not saying the photos and book discussions need to stop, no not at all. But WHILE books are great marketing tools and it is awesome to spread the word/promote/say thank you, etc -- not everyone is privy to this, even some long-time book bloggers with "big" blogs. I'd just like to promote a consciousness of this because otherwise, there is not much we can do about ARC Envy except try not to have it. (I do want to discuss this further.)
  • People can have strong opinions about how others should behave where ARC's are concerned and okay, okay. Calling out people online over this has only created more drama, and thus more negativity, which has been counterproductive. The privilege of receiving advanced copies is a great perk, but like many of the things associated with blogging, it takes a while to figure the "ARC-thing" out and get comfortable with it. Will I use NetGalley/Edelweiss? Will I receive printed ARCs? Do I prefer to use my own purchased copies and library copies? Can I even receive ARC's where I live? Even when we get comfortable with it, it still requires good etiquette within the industry and the community, and some tact to keep from creating drama. Wouldn't it be much better to contact someone directly behind the public wall if you have a problem with them rather than passive aggressive public shaming? It isn't very nice. I know that I'd appreciate that much more if it were ME and my behavior that was being talked about on social media and blogs, but that's just me. 

ARC's are a bit of a learning curve, in my opinion -- 
or they were for me when I first started blogging.
I will discuss this more soon.


Social Media Drama 

Speaking of drama, social media isn't the place to air our dirty laundry or vent our frustrations. There will ALWAYS be people that disagree with other people, there will always be email that upsets us, there will be poorly-executed comments directed toward us - how we react shows our character, friends! It never helps to get on Twitter and start dramatic or negative conversations. In my experiences as a blogger and reader, I've seen tons of negative responses to these initial tweets that have turned into very negative threads and nobody needs that type of drama. I've always been taught to take some deep breaths, collect my thoughts, and even sleep on it a few days before I start ranting online for everyone to hear or see. I've also found it valuable to have a couple of gracious friends in my back pocket that I can vent to in a hurry if something crazy happens - I feel like this is a much better approach than going public, and it can generate support while preventing unwanted widespread drama. 

I think sometimes it is easy to forget when we're talking to a couple of our Twitter or Facebook friends that ALL of our followers can see the conversation. It's very easy to come off looking passive aggressive and rude, and it's easy to have conversations in public that probably should be spoken behind the public wall. 

I've seen this a few times in the past few weeks. 

I think that we need to remember how we are presenting ourselves, to remember that we are representing books, authors, and publishers everywhere (yes we are!), and that often people remember it when we're involved in online bad behavior. It's best to avoid drama altogether if possible. 


Comments on ARC/social media manners?
What are some other examples of 
manners book bloggers should follow?

I'd like to hear from readers & bloggers alike!

This post is just the tip of the iceberg 
in terms of blogger etiquette. 
There are a TON of manners that we could and should discuss. 

Everyone should feel welcome in this community, 
and I genuinely believe that it begins with good manners. 

Don't miss my thoughts!