Let’s Talk About: Problems of Being an International Reader & Blogger… ARCs

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Hey people! Last week I started this whole “Problems of Being an International Reader & Blogger” thing talking about the difficulties we have accessing books. But did you know that we also have a major drawback when it comes to obtaining ARCs? Yep… so let’s see what’s up with that, shall we?


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This is as much as a common problem to us, international book bloggers, as not being able to access a published book whenever.

If you’re just starting out this whole book blogging thing, you might be a little clueless, because I know I was when I first started out. Heck, I didn’t even know what an ARC was. And just to clarify (in case there is someone out there doing this o_O), ARC stands for advance reading copy, and it’s a copy of the book given to librarians, booksellers, bloggers, etc, to create a buzz around said book and get the reviews going.

So, back on topic, if you’re like me, you’ve probably already gone to google and typed out “how to get ARCs” or any variation of those words, and you’ve come across a bunch of amazing posts telling you exactly what to do, who to write to, how to word your request, …, everything. Those posts are awesome! Except for the fact that they don’t really apply to us, international peps.


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You’ve read those tips, and they all tell you some important points, like you should blog frequently and for a few months before attempting a request, you should review books frequently on said blog, you should have an X number of followers and daily views, etc. When I first read this, I jumped and down from excitement, because I ticked all those boxes at the time.

So I kept following their advices, like explaining to the publisher why you want to review that specific book, and so on. I then gathered a list of books I was dying to read (and knew the arcs were starting to make their way out), compiled the mails, wrote and rewrote my email to them, and then clicked “send”. I repeated the whole process a few times, until it dawned on me that every single blogger I had seen with physical arcs came from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Philippines.

I was dismayed!

The right thing to do here would be to write the publishers from YOUR country and ask them for those ARCs, but again, most books don’t make it out of the English speaking market, and those few that do, take time to do it. Also, that would mean that I would have to read in portuguese or spanish and I don’t have enough brain cells for that.

Now, I’m not saying that they NEVER send out physical ARCs to international bloggers, because I’m sure they do. I’m just saying that said bloggers will have to have worked 5 times harder, have 5 times the following, and so on, to even make it worth their while.

And while I do get it, because for publishers the goal is to market the book where it will actually be sold, it sucks big time nonetheless.

International Bloggers, raise hands if you ever got a physical ARC from the publisher! Go ahead, tell me!


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You’re probably thinking: “yeah, that kind of sucks, but there are other ways to get physical ARCs”, and sure, you would be right.

Events like BEA are huge in the US. And there are similar things going on around some other countries. Not here though! So when the whole commotion starts around the conventions time, or the “selling” drama starts on twitter, we are left wondering what would it be like to actually stand in line and grab an upcoming book, because we have no clue.

There are some other ways to get one, like several contests and giveaways, but those are random and some of them don’t even apply to us either.


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Resigning myself that I would probably never get a physical ARC, I focused my efforts on getting digital galleys. Netgalley is probably the paradise for us International people who love to read and review, given that they are a little more flexible on the whole “where the heck you’re from” thing. But still, have you’ve ever been denied because you don’t live in the US or UK? I know I have! Look at some examples:

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I mean, I’m not saying that they can’t have refused me because of other factors, but it’s pretty clear in some cases that the problem is that you simply do not live in some places.

I remember back in March I was denied for two ARCs from the same publisher, telling me that the country was the culprit. This bugged me at the time because I had reviewed the previous books by both authors just a couple of months before through Netgalley too, and from the same publisher, of course. So, what the hell, right?! I really wanted both books, so I went ahead and wrote to them, and in no time I had the two widgets on my email. With this I’m saying that it’s not that they’re not allowed to allow for international reviewers, it’s just that it’s completely random sometimes.

It’s very hard to do your best, when the decision factors are a random mess.

In several cases I was denied, I went through the trouble of writing to them, because people… I have a reasonable number of followers, I do OK in views, I mean, these are my Netgalley stats:

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… so I think I do ok, right? I post everyday. I try to post at least 3 reviews per week, both in YA and NA, so unless we’re talking about a pretty sought out book, I would think that I would manage some more approvals. Still, approvals for titles from bigger publishing houses never come, and it’s really hard to get books that I’m dying to read.


Sometimes I feel like there are totally different standards for ARCs approvals depending on where you’re from. And while I understand the different countries’ rights, I also think that if we are all blogging in the same language and putting up much of the same content, it doesn’t make sense for someone with 400 followers and who blogs twice a week, to receive an ARC that I won’t be allowed to read. When in reality, we’re targeting the exactly same audience.

Hey guys, so, this is nothing against US/UK/… bloggers. Just the opposite! Also, no ARC envy here. I’m just pointing out how unfair it is for us international people, ok?

So, hit me. Tell me your experience with ARCs as a blogger, international or otherwise. I wanna know if I’m alone in this :P.

Let’s Talk About: Problems of Being an International Reader & Blogger… Access to Books

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It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to delve into a discussion post, but I reckon it’s about time I did it. It’s kind of a good timing to talk about this theme, because I think that the difficulties of being an international reader and blogger and lost on a lot of people, not because they’re understand it, but because it’s not their reality, you know?

I will start by the one HUGE problem of being an INTERNATIONAL READER: ACCESS TO BOOKS!

Yeah yeah… scoff away… it’s ok. Before I became a voracious reader, I would scoff too. But then I wanted to read The Mortal Instruments, and I could only find book 1 and 3 at my nearest (HUGE) bookstore, and I realized that it is a problem.


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If you don’t live in the US, UK or Australia, you might have come face to face with this problem: You don’t have access to the books you want. Sure, it can happen to anyone, but you can find the more popular books anywhere in the US, you can find them in supermarkets in the UK, and I’m guessing it’s not that hard in Australia either.

So, what are the problems in the rest of the world? Let’s talk about it a bit, ok?


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The first logical way to buy a book is going to a bookstore and just get it, right?

But if you live in, say, Portugal or Spain – my experience – I can tell you that buying a physical book can be tough. I mean, not if you’re looking for Harry Potter, or the latest thriller that’s on the cinema at the moment, but you won’t be able to find a new release… anywhere.

You can even facilitate things for yourself and read in english (that’s what most of us bloggers do, right?), but even then, where do you buy it?

I can tell you ONE chain store in Portugal that carries YA books in english, but they only get the new releases a few weeks after, and even so, it’s not a certain thing. Where I was living in Barcelona it was slightly easier because I found an all-english bookstore, and they carried a lot of new releases, from all genre, so that was very cool. And in either place you can simply order it, and the store will get it for you. The problem? THE PRICE!

While books in english are WAY CHEAPER than their translated counterparts, the import increment makes them inaccessible sometimes. For instance, see the example of Fangirl, and its prices in physical stores. Look at that difference!

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Of course, you can counter it by ordering online, and there you have places like The Book Depository or Amazon, and you can get better competitive prices. Still, while TBD doesn’t charge you for shipping, the delivery times are iffy, at best, and the timings depend a lot on where in the globe you are located. Then you have Amazon, and if you’re lucky to have one in your country, you might be able to get free shipping too, and let me tell you: I LOVE THIS. Spain has Amazon, and has free shipping for book orders over  19€, which we all know it’s not hard to get to.

Still, keep in mind that I’m talking about difficulties in two developed european countries, I can’t even fathom the difficulties that some readers from more remote locations might face.

With all of this in mind though, spending even 10€ on paperback is not easy, when you go through them in a day or two. I had months of reading 20 books, and even working, it would have been impossible for me to sustain that on a regular basis.


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Which leads me to the other great option that international readers have: the ebooks!

Let me tell you, my life changed when I bought my kindle, and it changed again when I found the kindle app for my phone. Kindles rock! Pure and simple.

Still, picking the example of Fangirl above, do you know that the kindle edition costs around 11€ in the US kindle store? YEAH. 11€!!! That’s a lot for an ebook, right?

See, buying in the kindle store takes time and patience if you don’t want to spend the big bucks. You can wait for deals, which is usually what I do, and get the books at a much more attractive price, BookBub is great for this hunting down of deals. But this means you won’t have the books you want, when you want them. Decisions… Decisions…

Because I read a lot of New Adult, finding free kindle books, or great kindle deals, is easier, and even the full priced books are not usually terrible expensive, because most of them are self published. But if you read YA, fantasy or sci-fi, buying ebooks might end up being as expensive as buying the physical copies, the only difference is the no-waiting period to enjoy your book.


disc_4By this time you’re probably wondering: “Ok Cristina, buying is expensive, we get that, but what about libraries?“.

Well… keep in mind that most of the world countries do not speak english as a first language. Ok, now think about this: most books out there are published in english. YA is not a popular genre in some countries, and others ban certain subjects on principal. So… do you think our libraries carry a lot of those books or new releases? Either in english or the translated edition?

Think again… they don’t.

Here in Portugal, most libraries have a huge technical books’ collection, or didactic books. Most will have all the classics, then all the books that have become big movies, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games… they might even have 50 Shades of Gray. But they won’t carry Simon, or Fangirl, or even The Mortal Instruments. They won’t have Sarah J. Maas or contemporary reads about mental illness or disabilities.

And I can bet that this is true for most countries where english is not the first language.

So, how can we, international readers, depend on libraries for our reading necessities? Very simply, we can’t.


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Borrowing physical books is out of the equation, so what about ebook libraries? Or lending services?

This would be the perfect solution, right? If we could have one giant online library that would serve the world, which allowed us to borrow ebooks for a limited time… yeah…

Platforms live OverDrive, that allow you to connect to online libraries all over the world, doesn’t work all over the world. I know. I tried. Most services and platforms like this don’t actually work outside of the US.

Then there’s the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which I think it’s awesome, because if I spent money on this book, why can’t I lend it to my friend? We do it with physical books all the time. I was even lucky enough to be the receiver of Deanna @A Novel Glimpse‘s books, she lent me the whole Falling series by Ginger Scott through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (THANK YOU FOR THAT DEANNA!!!). But while this is really great, I can’t ever do the same. Why? Because I live outside of the US, and while you can lend your US books to foreign friend abroad, said friends cannot return the favor. Heck, I can’t even lend my kindle books to my next door neighbor.

It came to the point that I wanted Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much to read a lot of my kindle books, so I her borrow my KINDLE device. Yeah, Aelin is with Catia… I trust her ;-). Still, we could do this because we live in the same city and I trust her. I wouldn’t be able to do this with anyone else.

This is clearly a problem. 

Our local libraries suffer from the same problem as mentioned above, they just don’t have the titles in their collection, so even if they have the ebook lending system, they won’t have the titles you’re dying to read.

Kindle Unlimited or other platforms like this might solve your “book quantity” problem, but by now, will you really be surprised if I tell you that I can’t access this feature?

I use the US kindle store, because Portugal doesn’t have one, and the US one is the cheapest one, so it’s the one for me. But it recognizes that I’m not physically in the US, so it tell me “NO CAN DO!”. So when I am living in Spain, I can actually access their platform, but I will need to change my base store to the spanish one, and I’ll be losing most of the kindle deals and the prices will be higher. Not an easy choice, right?


So, after reading all this, you know that being a reader sometimes isn’t easy. You might be lucky and be able to fill your bookshelves, and that’s honestly awesome. Or you might adapt your reading habits, and be super attentive to all the kindle deals out there. Or, like me, 80-90% or your reads might be ARCs from Netgalley or kindle free books.

But one thing’s for certain: having access to books is not easy in some places of the world.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recommended to me by Cátia and Deanna

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Hello, welcome back to another Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

All About Books You Read Because of Recommendation – Ten Books I’ve Read Because Of Another  Blogger (Or Book Person) or Ten Books I Read On Recommendation From People Outside Of This Community or you could talk about recommendations of books you read from other sources – a magazine, a podcast, a “because you read this” algorithm.

I look for book recommendations everywhere, but if I take a long look at my read books from the last year, I see that 2 bloggers have recommended me more books than anyone else. Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much is not only my constant companion while reading – because we do a bunch of buddy reads, but she made me read AMAZING books lately. The other blogger whose opinion I trust like crazy is Deanna @A Novel Glimpse, who pretty much introduced me to some of my favorite New Adult reads. So here are some books that they have recommended to me, and that I loved-


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Real Neat Blog Award #4

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Hey guys. I haven’t done a blog award in some time, but I thought I should. I was tagged by McKenzie @Bookish Things and Tea, Sara @Freadom Library, Cat @Bubblegum Yellow, Yasaman @Following Muses and Demmi @wordsandlyricss for my 4th Real Neat Blog Award, THANK YOU GUYS!

wpid-real-neat-blog-awardTHE RULES:

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 7 questions the nomination has provided.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers.
  • Create 7 questions for your nominees

I won’t be nominating anyone, because this is my 4th time doing this award =).


McKenzie @Bookish Things and Tea

1. What’s your go to happy book?

I think most of the New Adult books I read would have the potential to make me happy, but I’ll say one of the last ones I read that made me smile like crazy, and that was Smut by Karina Halle.

2. Favorite candle scent?

I do love apple scents, so I’ll probably say that :).

3. Do you prefer paperbacks or hard covers? Why?

Hard-covers look prettier on the shelves, for sure, put I like paperbacks better. They’re easier to hold and lighter, and take less space.

4. If you could take a year off from everything without any repercussions, what would you do during that year?

If I had the money for it, I would travel non-stop. Maybe live a few months in my favorite cities, and then just travel.


Demmi @Words and Lyrics and Sara @Freadom Library

1.Do you watch horror movies? If so, what’s the one that scared you the most?

Hmmm, no, not really. I don’t actually like them.

2. What’s your favorite book genre and why?

It’s a toss between New Adult, Young Adult and Fantasy. I like the three of them, it really depends on my mood though.

3. Imagine you’re stranded on a remote island with only one book character to keep you company. Which character would that be?

I’m still choosing Rowan Whitethorn from the Throne of Glass series. I mean, the dude would not let me go without food. Then there’s the whole magical thing about him. Plus he’s super hot!

4. Which seven characters would you invite to a party?

Hmmmmmmmm… this is tricky. Simon (Simon Vs), Aedion (Queen of Shadows), Cath (Fangirl), Penryn (Angelfall), Simon (Wallbanger), Magnus Bane (Shadowhunters)and Shahrzad (The Wrath and the Dawn).


Cat @Bubblegum Yellow

1. What is one book you really love that everyone hated?

Well, not EVERYONE hated this book, but I saw a lot of bad review of it, unfortunately, and that is Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach. I absolutely loved this book, and it kind of saddens me that a lot of people didn’t. 😦

2. Who is the one author you love so much that you’d even read their grocery list?

This shouldn’t surprise no one! Rainbow Rowell!

3. If you could change the title to any book, what it would be? (the book and the new title)

More than changing the title, I would change the COVER! Hustler is an amazing book, and the title fits, but the cover makes the title mean a different kind of hustler and that’s not cool. The cover has nothing to do with the book itself.

4. If your best friend was a character from a book, who would she/he be and why?

I would love to have a BFF like Killer of Tone Deaf, by Olivia Rivers. He’s an awesome friend and an amazing person. Also, he loves Doctor Who, and cries when David Tennant’s Doctor regenerates, and he’s funny.


Yasaman @Following Muses

1. What is your favorite genre? How did you discover it?

One of my favorite genres is New Adult and it was mostly by accident that I stumbled upon it. I requested a book on netgalley that had both indications (NA/YA) and it all began from there. I really love it. It’s always a fun read.

2. If you don’t enjoy a book/story do you skip or skim parts of it?

I try not to. I do it if the writing is bad, and if the book is not pulling me in. It happens so rarely though.

3. If you could trade lives with a fictional character (books, tv or film) who would it be and why?

I wouldn’t mind trading places with Tessa Grey, because she had the most amazing 2 husbands ever! I mean, Will AND Jem?! #goals!

4. Do you have a best friend (or more) and how did you meet?

I do. I met her during our masters degree. Not much there… we both live in Lisbon, while the masters was a long distance away, and we started traveling together and that was it. She’s family now.


And it’s done. Thank you again to all the wonderful bloggers who nominated me 🙂 .

The Book Fangirling Blog Award

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Hey guys :). How you doing? Today I’m doing the The Book Fangirling Blog Award, and I was nominated by Emma @Em Does Book Reviews, Megan @Meganqm1 and Carrianne @Carrianne’s Cuppa n’ Critiques. This is my second time doing this award, you can check the other post here.

The Rules:

  • Create a post to accept your award
  • Add the blog award button to your blog
  • Answer the questions I have set below
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think deserve this award
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees (at least one question about fangirling)

Emma @Em Does Book Reviews Questions:

1. Who do you normally fangirl with? In real life or over the internet?

This is easy. I fangirl with Kat @Life and Other Disasters and Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much. I do it like all the time. We have opened chats on every social media just for fangirling with each other. 😀

2. Who was your first ‘ship’?

Haruka and Michiru from Sailor Moon, for sure. I mean, I was shipping other people by then, such as Usagi and Mamoru, or Jean Grey and Scott Summers from X-Men… but Haruka and Michiru are OTP!

3. Have you ever read or written fanfiction about a book you loved?

I’ve read a few chapter of Shatter Me fanfic, but mostly one shots. Somehow I have a lot of trouble connecting to fanfic. Then I read Wallbanger and later found out that it was initially fanfic from Twilight, so I’m guessing that it happens sometimes.

4. What was the last book/character/ship you fangirled over?

Oh, I fangirl all the time about a lot of books, characters and ships. But lately I’ve talked a lot about Jamie and Wes from Him and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.

5. If you could be flatmates with one fictional character (no romance!) which character would you choose to live with?

I wouldn’t mind being flatmates with Magnus Bane, because he’s glorious, and I would always have coffee :D!!!!


Megan @Meganqm1 Questions:

1. What is your favourite book of all time?

Oh boy… that’s a tough question! I’ll say one of my favorite books of this year (is that good enough?!). Carry On by Rainbow Rowell… Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff… Wallbanger by Alice Clayton… Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy…

   

2. What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?

I finished Love on the Ledge by Zoraida Córdova just yesterday evening, and I really enjoyed it. It’s not my favorite NA book, but it was a good story, and the romance was awesome.

3. Do you like audio books?

It really depends. I liked a few audio non-fiction books, for fiction it really depends on the narrator.

4. Post a photo of describe your book situation at home?

  NLmAF8fi  SrOfX9RC

5. Least favourite book?

One of the worst books I read last year was Nirvana by J.R. Stewart… just… NO!


Carrianne @Carrianne’s Cuppa n’ Critiques Questions:

1. If you could steal a character’s clothes, whose would you steal?

I think I wouldn’t mind having Emma Carstairs wardrobe. I like the idea of all the vintage clothes (and also all the gear).

2. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

No no no no no… sorry, can’t!

3. What trope would you like to see more in books?

Hmmm, isn’t it the definition of trope something you see a lot?! Either way, I’m a sucker for the best friends to romance trope, and the enemies to lovers one too… I love those!!! 😀 So, more of that would be always ok 😉 .

4. Favorite bookish loot? If you don’t have any, then favorite book cover?

I mean… look at them!

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5. Which scene would you like to be a part of and in what book?

Anything Shadowhunters related. I just love the world!

One Lovely Blog Award

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Hello. Today I’m doing another round of weird facts about myself. I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Brooke @Brooke’s Books, Zhana @Confessions of an addict and Sara @Freadom Library. Thank you! And you guys should go check out their blogs.

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
  2. List the rules and display the award
  3. Add seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers and let them know about their nomination

Let’s see what facts I come up with today… I think I’m doing this food related! Yep, sounds good 😀 .

1. I don’t appreciate plain chocolate, my favorites are the ones with hazelnut or almonds in it. Actually, anything with hazelnut is awesome.

2. I’ll drink tea over coffee 98% of the time. I drink it at least 3 times a day and my favorite is Earl Grey. Though I’m a sucker for a peach tea I have that I bought in London a couple of years ago. I save it for special occasions though, and it’s hidden so my dad won’t drink it.

3. I love to eat salads. If my fridge is stocked with raw veggies, tomatoes, onions, avocado and fresh mozzarella cheese, I’m happy!

4. Actually, tomatoes are one of my favorite things ever. I used to eat them like apples when I was younger. My favorites are the the elongated ones, oh boy… love them. Incredibly, my dad doesn’t appreciate tomatoes one bit.

5. Another that I love to eat raw is carrots. I’m just too lazy to peel them whenever I’m in the mood for them. Interesting fact: my mom hates raw carrots!

6. I love omelettes, but they’re only perfect if they’re onions and tomatoes omelettes. It’s my favorite! Whenever I’m at a hotel and I can ask for it, that’s the 2 ingredients that go in my eggs.

7. I love to drink occasionally – simmer down, I don’t do it nearly enough – but 98% of the time, I’ll choose a beer over everything else. My favorite is stout and if it’s Guinness, all the better. I LOVE IT!

Top Ten Tuesday: 8 Bloggers Whose Opinion I Trust

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Hello, welcome back to another Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Ten Bookish People You Should Follow On Twitter / Instagram / Youtube / Snapchat / Facebook – you pick the platform of your choice to talk about all the interesting bookish people to follow!  If you don’t use social media much you can pick your favorite bookish blogs or new blogs you’ve come across to follow.

I have to be honest, though I’m always with my social media on, I don’t really have that lot of recommendations on either of the platforms. Given that I think that this week’s theme is to spotlight other bloggers or bookish people in general, I decided to share with you 8 fellow bloggers whose opinion I trust, as in, if we read the same book, we’ll most likely feel the same way about it.


 1. Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much

Cátia is a fellow portuguese blogger, and someone I talk to EVERYDAY! Yep, we talk all the time, and lately we’ve been reading the same books and doing tons of buddy reads. I trust her opinion and her recommendations because we always feel the same way about the books we read, and about the events on it.

I think the only thing we do not agree on is on Football teams and the whole Will/Jem thing.

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2. Kat @Life and Other Disasters

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Me and Kat have been following each other for years now… TIME FLIES!  We talk everything, from books, to shows, to music, to everyday stuff. Just like Cátia, I talk to Kat every single day too :).

Some of the first books I read here my blog, was because she recommended them to me, and they never fail. Whether she’s recommending me a book, show, movie, I know I’ll enjoy it.

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3. Sara @Freadom Library

In a more recent discovery, Sara and I share the same taste for a lot of books 🙂 , so whenever she recommends something, I listen!

We’re also about to have our first buddy read with Kat, that should be fun!

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4. Deanna @A Novel Glimpse

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Deanna has recommended me some of the best New Adult books I’ve read, so I’m quick to read all her reviews, previews, blitz and so on, because I know that I’ll probably like those same books.

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5. Ari @The Daydreaming Bookworm

Through my recent-ish discovered love for the New Adult genre, I noticed that Ari has read a lot of the same books as me, and I just know that I can fangirl with her over our recent reads – and it’s awesome!

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6. Regina @The Bibliotheque 

Just like the ladies above, I know I can trust Regina’s reviews, they usually align pretty well with my likes and dislikes as well.

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7. Josie @Josie’s Book Corner

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Although I haven’t been in the mood for Fantasy lately, Josie is the person to go to for Fantasy recommendations. She “made me” read Angelfall, after all, and I freakin’ loved it so much! So I always listen when she talks about a book she really likes, even when I’m not in the mood for the genre at the time.

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8. Joey @Thoughts and Afterthoughts

On a slight different note, Joey and I don’t have that many books in common, and he is, in my opinion, a tough reviewer. For this reason, whenever he reviews a book that I’m interested in, and says positive things about it, it makes me that much certain about reading it.

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