What’s Wrong with NetGalley & Edelweiss+?

NetGalley is one of my favorite ways to get books to read. You can request books that are going to be released, and in some cases that are already released, and see if the publishers will grant you access to the title.

Edelweiss+ is all right, but it isn’t my favorite. Part of the problem is that while Edelweiss+ and NetGalley have a lot of “exclusive” books, they also have a lot of overlap in the books they offer. In fact, there have been a couple of times where I’ve requested the same book on both platforms. With The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden, I was actually granted the book on both platforms. Usually I’m either declined on both or I get the book on one and not the other. I recently was given access to the sequel to Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood titled The Night Country on NetGalley but I was denied access to it on Edelweiss+.

So what’s wrong with them? Well, the simple fact that publishers aren’t required to actually respond to eARC/galley requests within a particular time frame. On both NetGalley and Edelweiss+ I’ve had books sit in “requested” status for months… right now I have two on Edelweiss+ that were requested 40 days ago. I have one on NetGalley that I requested in August 2019 and the publisher still hasn’t responded.

I get that publishers are busy. I understand that the person responsible for putting the books up on NetGalley and Edelweiss+ are very busy. But, they need to ensure that they are actually responding to requests for their eARCs/galleys. Readers shouldn’t be requesting books only to have those books sit on pending for months on end.

I have a couple of solutions that might work, but I’m sure there are other ways to handle it. The first idea is that publishers have a specified amount of time in which to respond to a request. We’ll say ten business days. If the request hasn’t been responded to in that time, the book automatically becomes available to the person who requested it. Now, because some publishers limit the number of people who are allowed to receive the book, this may not work for all publishers, so the other option is that a “time out” message is sent to the requester, telling them that the publisher didn’t respond to their request before the deadline so their request as been canceled. Then, the title would reset, allowing the requester to request the book again.

The other idea is to just set it up so that books are available to every requester on a first-come-first-serve basis. The publisher sets a number of times a particular book can be downloaded and the book disappears from the catalog once download limit has been reached.

Either of these ideas would help cut down on the amount of people waiting to hear back from publishers about books. I’m not saying that we are entitled to the books, but if we take the time to request the books, we are entitled to an answer within a reasonable time frame. It shouldn’t take over a month to tell someone yes or no, they can’t read a particular book through NetGalley or Edelweiss+.

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Format: Hardcover/Audiobook
Pages: 512
Source: Personal Collection/Scribd
Rating: ★★★★☆
Amazon / Book Depository

A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

So I started reading this book and my eye started having issues, making it difficult to read. The book was interesting enough, I just couldn’t read for more than a couple pages at a time before my eye started hurting. So, I checked my library for the audiobook. They had it, but it was going to be six months before I’d get it. I needed to read the book by Thursday the 14th of November for YA Book Club, so I started checking around. One trial subscription to Scribd later, I was listening away to The Fountains of Silence. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this book.

If you know me at all, you know I’m not a big historical fiction fan. For some reason I just don’t care for it that much. But The Fountains of Silence was the November 14th Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick, so I decided I’d give it a shot. Like I said above, I was enjoying reading the book but my eye was making it difficult, so I got my mitts on a copy of the audiobook.

The narrator for the audiobook gave it an authentic feel as she had a Spanish accent. This helped a lot, especially to make the parts spoken in Spanish feel more authentic. I loved the narrator and her narration style. It made the audio experience all the more enticing.

I loved, loved, loved Ana and Daniel. I loved that Daniel didn’t just want to use the Spanish culture of the times to get a story, he truly wanted to understand what it was like. He wanted to know what was going on. He wanted to know how the people lived, how they felt. He wasn’t just there to see what was there and take it… unlike Laura Beth and her mother, who literally only what Spain would be able to provide them. I’m sincerely thankful we didn’t have to deal much with Laura Beth as I wasn’t impressed with her at all from the brief interaction we actual get from her.

Ana was beautiful, sweet, and dedicated to her family – and Daniel. I was impressed with the amount of research that had to have gone into the lives and culture of the people to bring Ana and her family to life in the way they were.

I have to say, this is my first Ruta Sepetys book. She has a way of bringing characters to life that I’m truly impressed with. The last chapter of the audiobook was an author’s note read by Ruta herself. She spoke of how she’d fallen in love with the history and culture of Spain when she toured there for her first book and how much research she’d done. She truly brought Spain in the 1950s to life and I can’t wait to read other books of hers.

If you love historical fiction, even if you’re not a young adult (which I most certainly am not), you really must read this book. It’s fascinating, beautifully written, and lively. You won’t be disappointed.

The Guilty Reader Book Tag

I found this book tag over on Misty’s Book Space, but it originated with Chami at Read Like Wildfire on YouTube. So on with the questions.

Question 1: Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been given?

I actually don’t tend to get books as gifts, I usually get gift cards to Barnes & Noble or Amazon instead, so no, I haven’t.

Question 2: Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

Yes and no. I’ve said I’ve read a book all the way through when I haven’t, but I haven’t said I’ve read a book that I’ve never even started.

Question 3: Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

Yes, but not intentionally. The first time, the book fell out of my bag at school and it was never found. The second time, I was getting ready to move and the people helping me pack weren’t paying attention and packed the books. The final time, I actually had returned the books and was even able to find them on the shelf, but the library still didn’t believe that I had returned them. That one ticked me off because the library only owned one copy of each of the books I was accused of never returning and it was clear that the copies I’d found on the shelves were way too old to have been the replacements.

Question 4: Have you ever read a series out of order?

Not on purpose. I have when I haven’t known it was a series that had a specific order, but I’ve never purposely read them out of order. In fact, I often wait until I know that the series is done to start reading them.

Question 5: Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

I have on accident because I was reading along with someone and they’d been less than honest with me about where they were in the book. We were discussing the book and she finally admitted she hadn’t read as far into the book as I had. She wasn’t mad though, she was curious to see exactly how everything went down. We also spoiled the book at my book clubs because people will literally show up not having read the book yet.

Question 6: Have you ever dogeared a book?

Yes. I do it quite often with paperbacks. I’m talking those little mass market ones that fit in your purse. Half the time I don’t have a bookmark with me when I read one of those, so I tend to dogear those pages. I don’t dogear my hardcovers or my “full size” paperbacks though.

Question 7: Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

On accident, yes. I’ve had books that I’ve forgotten about and I’ve also had part of a series and forgotten which books I own and which ones I don’t. I’ve told someone I don’t own book one in a series when I don’t own book two. Things like that.

Question 8: Have you ever skipped a chapter or section of a book?

I often skip the acknowledgements and notes from the authors. I don’t really care about them, even though they’re in every book. I just don’t care who helped the author write or edit the book. But if the chapter or section is part of the story, no, I don’t skip those.

Question 9: Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked?

No. If I’m bad mouthing a book, it’s because I didn’t like it. I might tell things I didn’t like about a book I loved, but I’m not going to bad mouth the book. There is literally no point in bad mouthing a book that I enjoyed. And contrary to popular belief, you can find something in a book problematic but yet still like the book.

I Tag:

Anyone who wants to do it. I’m lazy. I don’t feel like going through my favorite book bloggers at the moment, so I’m going to just let everyone do it if they haven’t and they want to.

Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Title: Ninth House
Series: Alex Stern
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 458
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★★☆
Amazon / Book Depository

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ninth House was one of my most anticipated releases for October. I like Leigh Bardugo’s writing style. And I admit, I was curious to see if she can actually write adult fiction as well as she writes Young Adult fiction. The answer to that question is, she does.

I picked up Ninth House for the Barnes & Noble Book Club. It was November’s book of the month to read. It took me much longer to read the book because the episcleritis in my right eye made it painful to read – you never realize how much your eyes move until you try to read with an eye that hurts if it moves. In all honesty, I think that’s the only real reason it took so long to read this book.

As with most of Leigh Bardugo’s books, it does have a slightly slow, slightly confusing start. Where the prologue starts, you have no idea of what might be going on. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. You just have to be patient. Once you get into the story though, you’ll be sucked in. I read the last 200 pages or so in one sitting, my eye be damned. I didn’t want to put it down.

I liked Alex. She’s a tough kid but she’s also vulnerable. She comes from nothing, doesn’t feel like she belongs at Yale and from a standpoint of money, she really doesn’t. After all, she’s not rich. Her parents couldn’t pay her way in. She’s there because Lethe wants her. But she redeems herself well.

Dean Sandow is just plain a jerk. He’s one of those men who blames the victim. You’ll see what I mean, but honestly, he’s just a douche of a character that I really didn’t like at any point in the story. You might think he was doing Alex a favor by offering her a scholarship and a fresh start, but he’s only out for himself as you’ll see.

Darlington, an absent character that we get to know vicariously through what amounts to memories, is a mystery even after the fact. I think he’ll figure even more prominently in book 2, for reasons I won’t be disclosing.

Dawes – Pammie/Oculus – is an interesting character. She’s shy, she doesn’t know how to handle people. And she becomes very attached to the people that she cares for. She’s a fierce champion for her friends and those she loves and frankly, she is not to be trifled with.

Detective Turner is another one who is out for himself. He just wants to get ahead and make some money on the side by being Centurion for Lethe. He helps them investigate deaths or crimes that might be related to the Houses, but honestly, I didn’t care for him.

The book deals with some pretty deep situations such as frat parties that end in the rape of drugged girls, rape where the victim is believed to just be acting out instead of being a victim, and even victim blaming – although the victim blaming is in connection with a non-sexual attack. I, and the group of book club members who were mostly women, felt that Ms. Bardugo handled these things well, showing in a veiled way how society sees these types of things.

I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars because I felt it was awesome but could use some improvement. There were a couple of blatant editing errors. The ending of the book more than makes up for it, but not enough to give it a full five stars.

Cover Reveal: I Can See the Lights by Russ Litten

Today The Spooky Bookshelf is proud to present the cover reveal for I Can See the Lights by Russ Litten.

The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea – of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.

About the Author

Russ Litten is the author of the novels Scream If You Want To Go FasterSwear DownKingdom and the short story collection We Know What We Are.

As one half of the electronic storytelling duo Cobby and Litten, he has released three spoken word/electronica albums My People Come From The SeaBoothferry and Pound Shop Communism.

He has written for TV, radio and film and has worked as a writer in residence at various prisons and youth offender units. I Can See The Lights is his first poetry collection.

Twitter – @RussLitten

November Anticipated Releases

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

So I’m going to create a list of November’s anticipated releases. These can be adult, YA, or middle grade. So here are my anticipated releases for November 2019.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Amazon / Book Depository

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?


Amazon / Book Depository

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

Amazon / Book Depository

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Amazon / Book Depository

So those are my most anticipated releases for November. Not a lot, but these are the ones I can’t stop hearing about. I’m cheating though – I already have The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White as I was approved for it via NetGalley. I probably should have added it to my TBR for this month so I could get it read and reviewed. There’s still time though!

What are your most anticipated releases for this month?

The November 2019 TBR List

This month I’ve got a few things on my TBR list, but I can’t say whether I’ll be able to get to them thanks to this blasted eye. My eye doctor and I have determined that it is episcleritis, which is thankfully more just annoying than actually harmful. However, when the back and forth motion your eyes make while reading hurts your eyes… UGH…. so…

Books I want to finish this month:

  • The Tommyknockers by Stephen King (audiobook)
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (audiobook)
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (need this finished by the 5th for book club)

Books I want to get read this month:

  • The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (need this finished by the 14th for YA book club)
  • Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
  • Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
  • Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
  • Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (actually finish for once)
  • Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  • Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling
  • The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (I have this pre-ordered through Amazon)

I know this is ambitious, but I have faith in myself. After all, in October I read 12 books and finished 3 audiobooks for grand total of 15 read. This is just 13 total. I might add in the December YA Book Club pick but I won’t know until I actually find out what that book is.

What do you have on your TBR for November?