Life and Blog Update!

Hey there! It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything, and I thought I’d update you guys on what’s been going on in my hometown and a new meme that I’m going to try to commit to for my blog.

***this post contains affiliate links. The Amazon links are affiliate links which means that if you click the link, head over to Amazon and make a purchase, then I receive a small commission.***

First, a life update!

I live in Santa Rosa, California, which is in beautiful Sonoma County. Unfortunately, we had a really tough October in my county, as we were hit with yet another terrible wildfire, the Kincade Fire, in which about 200,000 people had to evacuate from the flames. With emergency alerts going off constantly, fear in the air, and tension everywhere, this brought back so much trauma from our last fire, the Tubbs Fire from two years ago. (See my posts about my experience with the Tubbs Fire here, here, and here.)

I don’t want to dwell on the fire too much, and we’ve also been dealing with PG&E (that’s our power company) shutting off power during windstorms so that other wildfires are not started. I’ve personally been affected by all four of the PSPS’s (Public Safety Power Shutoff) that have happened in the month of October, and so in the month of October my power was out for nine days, with the longest stretch being five days without power. I’ve had to reschedule many posts and also haven’t been writing much either. But, hopefully that will all change soon and I can get back to a normal routine!

So, now to the blog and to a new meme! I decided back in August that I was going to step away from accepting books for review, or ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) from publishers. I kept intending on writing a post about it, but life got in the way, as it so often does, so here I am discussing it now.

I have a few reasons for not accepting ARCs any longer:

  1. Too much pressure: I was having trouble sticking to my schedule of posting my review on the publication day of the book. I know, you don’t really have to do this, but I really wanted to stay on top of the ARCs and keep my commitments to various publishers. Turns out, this was making me quite frustrated with reading, as I was reading things I felt I HAD to read, rather than what I WANTED to read, which brings me to the next reason.
  2. I’m very much a mood reader. I like to read a wide variety of genres, and I don’t typically like to read similar books, either by author or genre, back-to-back. If I read a mystery one day, I might switch to contemporary fiction the next, with fantasy being my next choice. The ARCs I was gravitating towards were almost all historical fiction or mystery. So I was getting where I was reading multiple historical fiction books in a row, or multiple mysteries in a row. I don’t like reading like this, as the minute I feel I have to read a book, then I don’t want to read it.
  3. I’ve got a huge backlog of books I’d love to read. There are so many books out there to read! I love reading older books as well as new releases, and the ARCs were great to keep up my new releases reading! But I found I was reading more of the new books and not so many of the older books, and I’d really like to make a dent in my TBR!

There you have it, several reasons why I’ve stopped accepting books for review and ARCs! Since I won’t be having any brand-new release reviews for you, I was trying to think of a way to highlight new releases, and so I’m going to commit to doing a new weekly post about new releases called Want It Wednesday.


Books are typically published in the United States on Tuesday’s, and while TBR Tuesday has a great ring to it, I think Wednesday’s will work better for me for posting, so Want It Wednesday it is! I’ll focus on the new release books that I’d like to read, along with more popular releases. Because I plan on doing this post each Wednesday, I’ll take out the New Releases section on my sidebar to help save space there.

Well, this has already been a long post, so no official book synopsis or book comments for the meme this week, but here’s the first of Want It Wednesday and new releases this week! What better book to start out with than the new Erin Morgenstern??


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


Amazon (Affiliate Link!) |   Goodreads

The Angels’ Share by Ellen Crosby (Wine Country Mystery #10)


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads  

 The Old Success by Martha Grimes (A Richard Jury Mystery #25)


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads

 A Christmas Gathering by Anne Perry (Christmas Stories #17)


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads

 Checkpoint Charlie by Iain MacGregor


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads

 Cast Iron Alibi by Victoria Hamilton (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery #9)


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads

 Tell Me No Lies by Shelley Noble (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery #2)


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads

 The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott


Amazon (Affiliate Link!)   |   Goodreads


So there are some of the new releases that came out this week! All of these reads sound great, and this meme is really going to add to my TBR! What do you think? Do you like this idea? In the future would you like to see official synopsis of these books? Or just keep the post short with the book covers and you can click the Goodreads link for the synopsis?

Happy Reading! And let’s hope that November stays fire free and the power stays on!



13 thoughts on “Life and Blog Update!

  1. I feel the exact same about accepting ARCs and have stepped back unless it’s a giveaway I enter. It became too stressful for me too.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with the fires. I’ve been watching it on the news every night and think it’s horrible. I can’t imagine having to go without power. Hugs and keep safe. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂 The fires are just so awful, and the bad thing is there is no rain in sight so who knows how much longer this years fire season will go on!
      I wish ARCs weren’t so stressful! I really read some great books I might’ve otherwise skipped, but it’s just too much to deal with, especially when it’s a book/genre I’m not in the mood to read at that moment!


  2. Sorry to hear you’ve been affected by the fires and powercuts again – I remember your posts from the last time. I know what you mean about ARCs – I still take some but I’ve cut down dramtically this year and that’s allowed me to read some of the books that I’ve been wanting to get to for ages. In answer to your question, pictures and links work fine for me. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been very tough for the whole community to deal with. Especially because I think many of us (myself included) kind of thought that a big fire like that wouldn’t happen again, at least not so soon after the last one. But I guess these fires are the new normal for us…
      Thanks for the feedback about the links & synopsis. I like the idea of just doing the pics & links rather than plugging the whole synopsis in there. Plus, it’s easier! 🙂
      I really want to make a serious dent in the books I own but haven’t read yet, but I seem to keep checking books out of the library instead of reading those I already own!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The ARC invasion! That’s just what it feels like! 🙂 And even though I’m not accepting ARCs, it’s been really hard for me to say no to some – they are so tempting!


  3. I think having a meme is a good way to set a goal and stick with it. That’s what happened to me with my Sunday Lowdown posts. Sometimes I’m not sure who’s reading them or why (or why not), but having them creates a rhythm in my blogging week for which I am grateful.

    When I first started Grab the Lapels, it was specifically to review books by women who were publishing with smaller presses. I was wading in the writing community back then and knew loads of writers to get my started on this journey. But then self-published writers were getting sort of indignant about me not accepting “indie” books. Well, in the creative writing world “indie” often means small press, not “independently (indie) published.” So, that opened a floodgate that I did not expect. I got enough books to review in those first few months to last me years. And to be honest, most of them were not good books….and those self-published authors were very bold about sending me nasty emails. It got overwhelming, and I shut down accepting books ASAP. I might open it again with a Google form so I’m not getting random email blasts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping the meme will give me some consistency with my posts, and also give me something to post about if I run out of reviews. I’m really looking forward to getting into a blog routine and hope this helps me with that!

      I’m always interested in reading your reviews as you focus on reads that I don’t see usually see other bloggers talking about. I can definitely see how you would’ve been inundated with books to review as many bloggers only want the big releases or the new, hot YA releases that so many blog about. While I love reading those reviews, and I like to stay up with current popular reads, I’m also interested in other reads as well! Good luck if you end up opening back up for books for review. It’s such a tough decision.

      Liked by 1 person

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